From books, I winnowed the glue that held together my psyche as it struggled to stay whole. It was from stories and myths that I learned to dream, to imagine a different life, to realize potentials and probabilities other than those of the painful, poverty-mired existence I found myself in as a child. With a book I could hide in a corner, safe from the heavy hand and belt of my stepfather, and for a while not worry about where our next meal would come from, or where we would be sleeping that night, or when my mother would break and have to be sent yet again to the mental institution. Books, for me, we tiny life rafts that I clung to desperately.
But playing your music as loud as you want and coming home drunk aren't real life. Real life, it turns out, is diapers and lawnmowers, decks that need painting, a wife that needs to be listened to, kids that need to be taught right from wrong, a checkbook, an oil change, a sunset behind a mountain, laughter at a kitchen table, too much wine, a chipped tooth, and a screaming child.