I just got out of jury duty -- was thankfully NOT chosen to sit on the panel, whew. But, it took a few hours before I was let go from that damp, rickety, old building with the sickly florescent lights. Plus, I had to walk through two blocks of cold, stormy weather outside to get there.
But something magical happened when I got inside the court house and settled in. I opened up a book. Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, a book I've read twice before, at least. When I opened to the chapter I'd left off the night before, I stepped foot into a new place. A warm, cozy world in Cornwall, the coast of England. With sandy beaches and pristine skies and warm winds. And people having picnics and sharing memories and laughter. I was there. I wasn't in a musty court room, waiting to hear my fate, but across the globe, on another continent, in another time.
Ever since I was a child, I've been attracted to the idea of books -- the places they can take me, the things they can tell me. And I'm so glad that, even as an adult, that magic never fades. That I can still take a book with me anywhere I go, and be transported. Escape into another world. It's also why I love to write. I get to create those places, those characters. Immerse myself into a different place or time. There's no thrill quite like it.
I believe it was Stephen King who called books a sort of "uniquely portable magic." I think he's entirely correct.