Sophia DuBose

United States of America

I've always loved stories. I love how honest writing is. You really can't hide. Words reveal more than you even realize. It's a risk to put your writing out there, especially in public forums like this, but it's vital if you wish to improve.

Message from Writer

Just to prevent confusion: my name is Eliza DuBose. I write under my sister's name so that her dream of seeing her name on published writing will be realised.

How Stories Saved Me

August 21, 2018

My childhood was consumed by stories. My sister and I spent days constructing convoluted plots for the games we played, using them to outline the books we one day hoped to write. Most of the stories were of my sister's creation, dark complicated worlds that were unique to her mind. We acted out the battle scenes from her tale The Ballad of Amandie about a group of immortal warriors dedicated to protecting the planet from great evil. We would while away long car rides recording The Crow Prince, the story of a boy who discovers that he is the prince of the Crow (yes, as in the bird) Realm who’d had his memory whipped and now must be retrieved by the Raven Princess. Long nights were spent discussing the adventures of Tegra, a tiger/human hybrid who was the result of an experiment gone wrong. We used to dig through our parent's music libraries, coming up with dances that conveyed the stories the songs told. When we weren't busy creating our own stories, we’d spend hours listening to books on tape, letting the words of Christopher Paolini and J.R.R Tolkien pull us into worlds of magic and heroic deeds. My sister and I were bound completely to the land of stories. It was our special place. My mother often described us as having our own little worlds built up for ourselves, worlds that only my sister and I could enter. My sister was the mastermind of our universe and I was the architect. In our world, we were heroes and princesses and shepherds and monsters. In everyone else’s world, we were ‘imaginative’ children. Children that needed to learn. As we enrolled in school, we were expected to learn our letters, and slowly we were expected to be able to read. I soon discovered that while I loved stories, I hated reading. 
     Reading came as a challenge to us both. The words seemed only to get in the way, the curves and lines of the alphabet becoming iron gates locking the stories away behind them. The letters in front of me didn’t make sense and the words they attempted to present were unattainable. I despised reading in class and I hated when my mother encouraged me to try to read on my own time.  I remember distinctly, in the third grade, my best friend handed me a book, insisting that I read it. I kept that book in my desk for three weeks and read only the first page. Reading, I decided, was simply not for me. Then, one day, yet another of my friends offered a book titled Warriors: Into the Wild. This book would change everything for both my sister and me. 
    I had just settled in to read the first page when my sister entered the room. “Would you read aloud to me?” she asked. “Just the prologue,” she added when I hesitated. I agreed and allowed her to settle in next to me. As I began reading, for the first time, I felt captured by the story that I was coaxing out of the pages. When I’d finished, my sister straightened, alive with interest. “Can you read the next chapter?” she queried. So I did. And the chapter after that, and the one after that, and the one after that, until we finished the book, as well as all six of the subsequent books in the series. My sister and I fell in love with reading. It was my sister who was truly swept away by those pages, however. She loved the journeys, the adventures the books offered. She methodically read every page, becoming deeply intertwined with the characters she encountered. I, on the other hand, opened books to the last page as soon as I obtained them and read the last line. She loved Jane Austin and Charles Dickens. I loved City of Bones and Vampire Academy (yes, my sister had better taste than I did). I used to run around the house, squealing at the excitement filling the pages, and my sister would remark dryly as I flew past, “Let me guess: they’re all about to die.” The answer was invariably yes. Yet those characters never did seem to perish. They constantly managed to slip away from the jaws of death. The same could not be said for my sister when our car ended up in that river four years ago. No, those incredible escapes I’d so often encountered in books did not quite translate to the real world. 
    After my sister died, books shifted from being my friends to being my refuge. When I couldn’t stand the world that I now inhabited, one where she was gone and I was alone, I turned to books. If I was at school and her absence screamed so loudly that I couldn’t think anymore, I picked up a book. Sometimes it seemed as if my sister lay hidden among the pages, using the paragraphs as thin shields. Those paragraphs she read to me, her eyes dancing with mirth, had surely recorded her laughter. The books that she loved so well were too sure have some of her. It seemed that perhaps if only I could understand the characters’ trials, I could begin to understand my own. 
    As the years passed, my dependency on books lessened. They once again shifted into being friends, mere comforts when I was sad rather than my only refuge. I learned to live with the story that had become my life. It still happens sometimes though. Occasionally, when I’m reading a new book, a word or passage will make me pause and think for a moment of the girl that my sister had been, the girl consumed by stories, the girl who never once stopped dreaming of writing her own.

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

  • Nonny21

    This is so beautiful!! I love this I love this I love this. This is so sweet and deep. Normally I don't read such long writings on WtW but this piece had me hooked, one line after the other. I love the flow of the words and the overall style. <3

    over 1 year ago
  • Sophia DuBose

    Thank you!

    over 1 year ago
  • annie_cheng

    This is such a lovely and heartwarming tribute to your sister. Thank you so much for sharing! Best of luck :)

    over 1 year ago