Hello! My name is Katie, and I am a story-aholic.
Everyone has a story. Mine is about loving stories, which makes it super boring. But for the sake of a good yarn let’s spin it as a cautionary tale about a dangerous obsession that’s led to lies, delusions, and poor eyesight.
The addiction started early. At eleven months, I took my first steps while my enabler parents held out a picture book like a carrot on a stick.
As my steps grew surer, I tottered down the slippery slope from pictures to words to chapters to series. I kept roving and reading, always seeking that next fix. Those black squiggles on the pages made my heart stutter and my mind hallucinate.
Then the lies began. All through elementary school, I pretended I was afraid of the dark so I could have a nightlight to read by. I under-reported my minutes for mandatory school reading challenges. When my own books were taken away for wrongdoings, I stole new ones from my parents’ shelves.
At the age of eight, I became convinced that I could communicate telepathically with animals. (Coincidentally, I had just discovered the Redwall series.) I wandered the wetlands in my Northern California hometown, keeping a field journal on the thoughts and personalities of ducks. These Thoreau-like tendencies of writing and hanging out in nature live on to this day. So does a certain unhingedness that I can only hope comes off as amusing.
What happened when books were no longer enough…
Over time, my tolerance to books increased and it became harder to find content that gave me the same highs. I made the startling discovery that people also have stories, and not just that weird breed of people who call themselves authors. And places have their own stories, too!
It also seemed that these stories would no longer be told on paper but on screens. I’d read enough sci-fi to make me want to push toward that so-called singularity and see where it takes us.
And so I searched for novelty through travel and technology, though always with a book in arm’s reach. I wanted the real world and my fantasy worlds to combine in my own augmented reality.
At age twenty-one, after years cementing my role as a socially-inept nerd, I graduated early with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. I took the time I otherwise would have spent in school to bounce around the globe and blow the rest of my babysitting/internship money, like the rash and spoiled child I
was am. During those six months, I lived a fairy tale life swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas and bungy jumping in New Zealand.
In 2012, I moved to Seattle to work as a firmware engineer on Xbox accessories and a line of fitness products for Microsoft, still sparing time for nearby adventures. In the process, I developed a passion for using geeky stories to motivate my fitness and taking long walks to find the world’s best reading spots.
After my project was canceled, I took my severance package and my boyfriend with me on the road again. Who knows where it will lead this time? (So far, to Guatemala, Patagonia, and on a lot of road trips around my home country to visit family.)
Now I tell my own stories.
“The Roving Reader” is an attempt to uncover and invent meaning in my life by documenting my experiences and the things I’ve learned as a series of shareable stories.
Or at least that’s my highbrow justification for writing stuff down and taking pictures so I don’t forget everything. After cramming so many books in my head, my brain is like a sponge that has been wrung out too many times. It’s no longer absorbent and teeming with useless-fact-bacteria.
Keep in mind these are just one person’s thoughts. I’m still figuring out my style. I’m young and lack self-confidence, but maybe you can relate with that and come along on the journey.
On the chance you’re here looking for useful information, I usually share logistics in the “Resources” sections of posts. I hope someone out there can use my research to make their own stories. All I ask in return is that you feed my addiction and tell me about them. 🙂