Between The Bookshelves Essay

1602 words - 7 pages

I stand on the stone pavement, backpack thrown over my shoulder, weighty book-bag slung across my chest, my suitcase leaning against my leg as though it’s too weary to continue on.
I had felt a wild sense of adventure when my parents has stared at me in shock, when my friends called me insane, when even my own heart was frozen in fear. I felt alive, spontaneous, and full of bohemian freedom. Now I just feel lost.
You see, this is a strange city. Especially if you come from a small town in Mid-West America. But here I am, standing in front of Shakespeare and Company Paris, France. I stand on the street in the icy fog, hands trembling and teeth chattering. Overhead the sky opens up, ...view middle of the document...


Inside the air is sweet and musty, which sends familiar, calming waves through my body. This is like home—paper and ink bound between covers. Hundreds of books line the seemingly endless rows of shelves. This is what I need, a place overflowing with stories and inspiration. This is why I have come.
* * *
“Still having trouble?” Amelia glances over her shoulder as she slips several stray books back onto the dusty shelf.
“I’ve been having trouble for months. I thought traveling might help.” I grimace and massage my temple, but the headache only gets worse each time the curser flashes on the blank page. There should be chapters by now, paragraphs, and sentences. I don’t even have words. They all seem stuck, as if someone has dammed up every drop of inspiration.
“But you haven’t even left the store in days.” Her gaze falls to the conspicuous word document. “And that story clearly isn’t going anywhere. You need a break.”
“No, I need to write.”
Amelia smirks. “Exactly. You’re not going to have anything to write about if you don’t go on adventures.”
She’s right, but something holds me captive as if somehow the invisible story has bound me with invisible chains to this invisible quest of literary revival.
The curser blinks again and my heart skips a beat. What if Mom and Dad were right? What if I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Maybe my stories aren’t as vibrant and captivating as I used to believe.
“I have to write, Amelia. It used to be so easy, so easy to just sit down and write whatever I wanted. I have to prove I can still do it, but now I can’t even get a stupid character to talk.”
“Those characters never want to listen, do they?” A coy smile plays across her face as if she finds my frustration amusing.
It isn’t funny, not in the slightest. This has been my entire life dream and it’s slipping away like a friendship grown distant.
My fingers tap rhythmically against the keyboard as if hearing the sound might coax the stories out of their hiding place. Nothing happens. All that’s left is a line of jumbled letters and squiggly red line. I fight back the urge to laugh. Those red lines are probably better than anything I’ve written all week.
“Please,” Amelia’s hand comes to rests on my shoulder, “let me show you Paris. Besides, I’m a local. It’s not like you’ll get lost of anything.”
I fight the urge to roll my eyes. “You’re not French though, are you?”
Without skipping a beat she replies, “No. I’m American by birth and Parisian by heart.”
Parisian by heart….it’s a beautiful thought.
“Fine.” I grimace again as I close out the document. “You win.”
* * *
Standing on a rooftop balcony in the fading twilight sends a renewed wave of freedom racing though my veins. It sets me free.
Amelia stands next to me, fingers wrapped around the railing as she leans out into the open air. I can’t help but admire the way she closes her eyes as her hands slip from the railing. It’s a...

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