When did you first start reading?
I started reading when I was too small to reach the middle shelf. (I’m still far too small to reach the middle shelf, but still.) My mother read to me every night when I was little. We’d curl up together in my bed (I remember my Dora the Explorer-themed bedspread and stuffed purple unicorns), and my mother would stack the hardback picture books (gently retrieved from our black wooden shelf against the wall of the living room) between us.
While she narrated aloud, I’d follow her index finger as it brushed against a page’s structured sentences. Her soft and expressive voice transformed my small bedroom into the palace from Twelve Dancing Princesses, the garden from Little Miss Spider, or the house from Pinkalicious. (Plus, the musical versions of those books absolutely slap — especially Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Period!) I would imagine we were in Paris with Madeline and her boarding school sisters; sometimes, we’d be exploring the cut-out worlds of Eric Carle and the Foolish Magistrate’s home in Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.
Eventually I leveled up (as one does after gaining experience points); I no longer needed bedtime stories to lull me to sleep.
Though I never grew out of stories.
You never grow out of stories. Take a trip down memory lane with Sophie Ligaya’s first blog post!Tweet
In elementary school, I toured the world (and a beautifully surreal version of its history) with Jack and Annie in The Magic Tree House series. I hid my books under my desk in my homeroom classes or beneath my family’s oaken table during dinner, exploring the Underland with Gregor and Boots in Gregor the Overlander and retracing mysteries by Margaret Peterson Haddix. With only the aid of a clip-on reading light, I’d absorb the schemes of Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries and the mishaps of Charlotte from The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
(No wonder my eyesight is so poor!)
Middle school hijinks introduced me to first the Kane Chronicles, then Heroes of Olympus, then Percy Jackson and the Olympians (I read each series out-of-order and cherished them all the same) — my friends and I pictured what it would be like to play capture-the-flag at Camp Half-Blood or spar with Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano at Camp Jupiter. (We spent an unequivocal amount of time wondering who are godly parents would be. I loved the idea of having Artemis as a mother. That’s not her jive typically — still! She’d be cool. She’d take stars from the sky and stitch a diadem for my forehead. I’d join the Hunters of Artemis in half a heartbeat.) I found solace in fantasy such as with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series (I was a bit too young, but that’s okay! Dragons) and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (my dad is a big Tolkien fan).
(And a note: fantasy writers love their initialed pseudonyms, don’t they!)
Once high school tumbled around, I engrossed myself in the transcendent works of Catherynne M. Valente (clenches fist: her prose. Her syntax. She is one of my favorite writers of all time) — envisioned myself in Sinegard with Fang Runin from The Poppy War (I must read The Dragon Republic!) — discovered more diverse novels (Girls of Storm and Shadow, The Hundred Secret Senses, Everything I Never Told You, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns) that seemed to echo me as I held them. (It’s a loving feeling, books that represent you. Whenever I find complex characters who stand proud with their black hair and brown eyes and tanned skin — let me tell you! My spirit floods with joy at every chapter.) I’m still relishing my high-school reading phase now.
I drank and drank and drank from every page I read, and words filled my mind just as easily as water could fill an empty basin. Novels took me somewhere only I knew — a place both deeply set in my own self shared with readers who felt the same way I did.
A book is a reflection, and a book is a community — channels for escape and vessels for solidarity.
Whoa! went my thoughts as I took in scenes and sections. This word stuff — this is pretty great. Can I have more?
So I write. I craft my own stories — sloppy poetry about grocery stores, Lunar New Year, and Bath & Body Works; chapter books folding-screen demons, fluffy Mongolian mastiffs, and helplessly beguiled assassins; and, most recently, exhausting college essays. The ctrl, shift, and enter keys on my laptop’s keyboard are worn from use, and my space bar is (possibly) corroding. Google Docs is my most-accessed application. (And also Twitter. And Instagram. And TikTok. And Archive of Our Own on Safari. Words are involved here nonetheless!)
I created this blog to share my passion for the stories and words and phrases that make us. This will be my little nook for storing ideas, and I’m excited to share with you.
Welcome to Sophie and Their Stories! I’m so glad to have you here, and I hope you enjoy the journey to come.
- What are the books that make you feel warm and nostalgic?
- Who are your favorite writers, and why?
- Are you a storyteller? How do you tell your stories?
And real quick:
Here are the blogs that inspired me to begin my own, and were great sources of inspiration!
These blogs and their bloggers are so lovely. Be sure to check out their content! (In future blog posts, maybe I’ll shout-out more of my favorite bookish creators. We’ll see how this goes!)
Thank you for reading my first blog post, traveler.
I’ll see you next time.
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