Why do memoirs capture my heart so thoroughly? Why do I crave stories about pain and suffering, why do I crave so much to understand the human experience? In my perch at Columbia University, I often feel like there is something I am missing. I know this isn’t reality, this pristine campus, this access to knowledge – but what is reality? That was my reason for coming to Columbia, my reason for traveling around the world four years ago. It is the quest of my life.
When I am in a cafe, I sit and wonder – who are these people in here with me? What stories do they have, what experiences have they gone through? The written word, I believe, is a powerful way to see someone’s soul. To read, you must be able to listen, to listen, you must have patience, and you must be open. You must let part of yourself out, to feel and understand.
I find myself becoming more emotional when I read. This book, the Color of Water, has touched me often. When I get into a memoir, I find myself often unable to read another page, so overcome with emotions that I need to put the book down, and gaze into the distance. Let the feelings sink in, let my own mind wander.
The most valuable asset we have as humans are our experiences, our stories, our connections to the basic qualities that make us who we are. So I’ll keep on reading – probably for the rest of my life, in my never-ending quest to understand the world. I’ve found that each experience is different, and that my emotions never become dulled no matter how many memoirs I read. Instead, this is the only thing that makes me feel human sometimes, in today’s modern, money driven world.