I don’t know how many people know about my journey, but I wasn’t always the literate son of a bitch I am now. When I graduated high school I could barely read. As far as I was concerned reading was for dopes and anybody who wanted to spend hours a day with a bunch of papers shoved in their face was someone I didn’t want to know.
But how different I am now that I’ve grown up. I can’t read enough now. My life seemed so empty before I cracked open my first book, but now it’s stuffed full of stuff–like a stuffed pepper.
I’m constantly aware of how much time I missed growing up. The people who’ve grown up reading probably have a few hundred books under their belts that I’ll never be able to read. I feel like I’m working at a deficit. There will never be enough time for me to catch up.
But that’s where I have an advantage. Living in the States, or Europe, I’d have to spend every waking hour trying to earn money, but living in the developing world I can live on ten dollars a day. That’s three hundred dollars a month. This is the only way I can make up all of the lost time of my teenage years, wasted as they were on drugs, alcohol, and sex. Businessmen do this all the time. They call it leveraging. I leverage the cost of living here where I live in order to free up my time for important projects. Like reading. And turning my life stories into an incredible series of ebooks.
I find myself reading almost all the time now.
I carry around hundreds of free classics in my pocket. Whenever I sit down, I pull out my device and start reading. You could even find me wandering around the streets with the device in front of my face. Each word I read builds my brain. For years I was an ignorant son of a bitch, as you can see in The Adventures of Bob Collins (vol. 1). American culture had crushed me into a stupid, ignorant idiot, and I didn’t have no way to escape it.
As I gradually started reading, and traveling, the way I thought changed. The TV showed me this real narrow way to think, but then books by all of these real smart people gave me a totally new way to look at life. I’ll always be grateful to the people who’ve spent decades learning how to think and learning how to write so that I could improve my life.
That’s what it really comes down to. Improving life. Book improve life. Reading improves life. Writing improves life.
But there’s one caveat. You have to read the good stuff. Teenage vampire romances just don’t cut it. Adults reading YA novels scares me. Adults should be adults, not overgrown teenagers. That’s something else I’ve learned in my travels. The only way you can really be an adult is to be on your own.