A Blessing in Disguise: How the Blackout Showed Me the Light (Of Literature)

Once upon a time, there lived a girl in Connecticut. She lived in peace with her cell- phone, laptop and television. She enjoyed speaking with her friends on social media websites in the warmth of her house.

However, one day, a terrible storm hit, and the girl lost her power, leaving her without her technology. What was she to do?

Well, that girl was me. And I had no clue. As the lights flickered and the television faded to black, my mind scrambled for thoughts of new activities.

Go over to a friend’s house? Maybe once the winds are lower than 60 miles per hour.

Watch a movie? After actually attempting this, I was reminded of the fact that televisions typically run on power.

Make hand shadows with a flashlight? I wasn’t that desperate. Yet.

My flashlight darted around the room, finally landing victoriously on the item that quickly became the center of my attention: my bookcase.

For the three days that I was without power, I lived in every world except the technology-focused one I usually live in. I lived with Gregor in the un- human, bat, spider, and rat-inhabited Underland while reading “Gregor the Overlander.” I lived in the love-filled world of a child with cancer with Melinda in “A Rose for Melinda.” I lived in the futuristic, freedomless country of Panem with Katniss Everdeen while reading“Mockingjay.”Other than drinking tea I made on our kerosene stove, getting more blankets and telling my mom to be quiet, reading was virtually all I did for those three days.

Between school, homework and a social life, the only reading most high schoolers do (at least at Staples) is the extraordinarily educational, tending-to-be dull reading for English class. Between the Post-It notes and analytical essays, I don’t even know if this can qualify as reading. Reading your own books is a completely different experience.

As I read, I realized how fo- cused I was. It sounds clichéd, but I was truly lost in my books, tuning out the sounds around me. Trees fell, winds surged, mothers screamed (all very similar sounds), and I stayed deep within my books. Although I will sometimes become involved with my books from school, I was so much more engrossed with the books I chose to read during the loss of power.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t waiting for texts or iChats to ring in, or maybe it was because I wasn’t searching endlessly for an above-average idea to present in class about the “symbolism” (how many symbols can an author include in one book? I can’t believe that every color of every sock shows the pure joy the character was feeling), but I enjoyed reading so much during those days without power.

Rediscovering my love for reading came to me in the literally darkest of times, and, aided with only my flashlight and several fuzzy blankets, I was glad to be a bookworm once more.

And so, the girl fell in love. In her darkest moments, her love of reading made her strong, and even as the light returned to her life, she never left it. The sun shone once again and the sky was calm. And the girl lived happily ever after.