The world is the greatest inspiration that I know.
I am enchanted by the most ordinary things — scribbled graffiti, floating dandelion fluff, kind strangers, the changing shape of shadows, the pungent smell of cinnamon, raindrops sliding down a window, the silky folds of cream that stream into my morning coffee. I believe in love. I have the impression that Life is a perpetual pas de deux between happiness and sorrow, two lovers that inextricably cannot survive without each other. All of my dreams come true in my imagination.

Stories intrigue me.
I like to read everything, especially people. Books have defined my life, in its many individual, though connected, chapters. I believe that a novel is an author’s work of art, subjective enough to evoke a unique emotional response, and objective enough to analyze. Whether the medium is words, sounds, images, or fashion, artists work in a world apart from the one in which we inhabit — the realm of their imagination, where absurdity can be embraced, reality rethought and magnified. Writers, and all artists, push boundaries and reposition them in the framework of society, their guidelines somewhere between the speculative and the impossible. Art is spoken in many languages – the sheen of a dress, the glare of a headlight, the shadow of a building, music, literature, film. Someone created these things. And without the process of creation, without the expression of art, we lose something beautiful — freedom.

Libraries are a map of the imagination, outlining the thousands of places we have visited that do not exist. I have been where the wild things are. With trepidation, I tiptoed down the gloomy hallways of the decaying Satis House, a statute of living death, and lounged in the Chestnut Tree Cafe. I braved storms on The Pequod and presided over the Court of Miracles. Il paese dei balocchi caught me by surprise, and the Hundred-Acre Wood gave me adventure. In my sleep, I still visit The Valley of Ashes. Macondo is my paradise, East Egg my hell. I have dodged wayward spells in the castle of Hogwarts and shopped for venemous tentacula in the cobbled promenade of Diagon Alley. Atop a giant peach, I have rolled down the desolate cliffs of Dover, and witnessed The Very Hungry Caterpillar transform before my very eyes.

The definition of literature is, like our transitory world, in constant flux. And this is the beauty of it. At its most basic, literature is that which is written with letters; on an academic level, it is a well-written work with artistic merit; emotionally, it is a book that has a lasting impact, a book that you feel an inexplicable connection to, whatever the genre or theme. Whether it’s YA or a canonical classic. Whether you prefer writing that adheres to a methodical set of rules, or experimental works that challenge, inspire, and move you. Literature is everything and anything. Literature has a pulse.

Growing up, there was nothing I loved more than delving into a book head-first, arms flailing, logic forgotten, and allowing myself to live in it for some time. For some time, it is all real. You might lose me for a little while, but I will always come back to you.

Copyright © Cristina Rizzuto, 2014