Bridge to Terabithia

I reread Bridge to Terabithia last Saturday. I first read it in sixth grade and fell in love. It tapped emotions as yet foreign to my 12-year-old self. I finally found someone I could identify with in Jess Aarons – his irritation with yet fondness for his family, his artistic dreams and corresponding feelings of inadequacy, his insecurities and fears about everything, his need for secrets. I believed Jess was my soulmate, and I wanted to be Leslie Burke. More than anything, I wished I had written this book. With each subsequent reading that year the urge to create something so beautiful and real as this story confirmed the early and fickle childhood dream I’d had to become a writer.
Bridge to Terabithia convinced me that writing stories was a worthwhile even reverent pursuit. For to me, any activity that produced such accurate and unforgettable insight into kids like me needed to be approached in awe.
I began with trepidation, scared that the magic of it had faded and that my memory bore the only witness. I didn’t want to mar that innocent precious place by trespassing as an adult, but I had to know whether it was good to me because my tastes were immature and anything would have whetted my imaginative appetite or because it was simply magical. As I read, the original images – long dormant – filled with color and life. Everything remained intact and became better. People were more than skin captured on paper; words reverberated sound, pitch, and tenor; the dust gritty, the fresh milk warm; the pain acute and to the bone.
So Terabithia remains an ethereal transcendent kingdom painted on the insides of my eyelids; even as an adult it’s not unreachable – afterall, Jess built a bridge. It’s a wonderful place. Everyone should visit.
*Admittedly, I’m not brave enough to see the movie.

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