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Salt-Covered Stories

Salt-Covered Stories

            Reading has always been my escape.  Whether it is a poetic story by Tom Robbins, cynical works by Bukowski, or my beloved Goosebumps series, by R.L. Stine, I am constantly entertained by individual minds that are almost secretly hidden away inside of these objects. I have always been an introvert, and books helped my mind compensate for the lack of social stimuli.  Who cares whether or not my first friends were real?  Roald Dahl, for example, was my first genuine friend.  He catered to my almost ridiculous imagination, in a way that no other concrete person could.

            I remember my first Roald Dahl book.  I remember how I felt- carrying a new tremendous skill around, being able to read any book that I chose, at any time, in any solitary place, swan diving into this other person’s imagination or perspective.  I was high on the smell of paper and ink.  I couldn’t stand my excitement, so I opened the book.  First step, complete.

            The Twits was the first book by Roald Dahl that I had the pleasure of reading.  It was semi-worn in, a paperback, and it smelled of stale water.  It was actually a very nice day outside, I can remember, and my father had been yelling at me to go out and play.  I did not.  Right off the bat, I could tell the author was my type.  His descriptive silliness was right up my alley.  I have always been goofy, despite my quietness.  Being able to see and feel silliness within a story made my insides flutter.  The Twits is about a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Twit that go on ridiculous escapades to torture some thing or someone, some way or another.  For example, one of their favorite meals is bird pie.  Every week, Mr. Twit would go up to the big tree in his backyard, where all of the birds rested, and slather a good amount of the strongest glue in the world to the branches, before nightfall, so that in the morning they had as many birds as they liked for their precious bird pie.  In the morning, he would collect all of the meaty birds he acquired, throw them into a pot of boiling water, and watch the birds flapping about for their lives, in satisfaction.  I also vividly remember the illustrations and how the rough, scribbled, sketch-like characters were instantly a preference over most any other style of animation.  They were simple, yet crude and I liked them.

            As if my love for Roald Dahl’s characters and dry humor weren’t enough, I picked up another book, naturally.  This time it was The Witches.  This book, I can say, was and still is my favorite book written by Dahl.  There are many other incredible works by him that I adore, of course, but The Witches is just the right amount of crazy on so many different levels.  I was always interested in morbid, scary, or creepy things- witches being one of the many things- therefore, this book was solid gold.  His descriptions of the witches really captured and terrified me.  I caught myself looking out of the window of my bedroom, expecting to see a revolting square-toed woman with shining purple eyes, holding a bar of sweets out for my attention.  His stories are so definitive and rambunctious; I could hardly stand it, so I read five more books by him.

            Roald Dahl, being my first beloved author, really affected my humor.  His exquisitely dry perspective on things within his stories and in general had a profound result on my character.  I was already on the path of discovery, and Dahl brought forth an even more sort of playfulness that made me into who I am today.  My sarcasm is unmerciful; my humor is as dry and as salty as Smithfield ham; and I love detail that is straightforward yet pictorial.  I am an undoubtedly passionate person who loves anything that my mind can toy with and Dahl provides ample works of art for me to indulge in.  I am not sure if I would be the same person today if it were not for his love of a quirky tale.  I am not sure if I’d be as much of a weirdo without Roald Dahl, and I thank him for that.