I have a habit of doing things the difficult way. I can be stubborn and proud when I’ve decided on my method, even when it amounts to a lot more work than I need to do. But I only do it because I’ve got a reason, and it’s usually a good one.
Another habit of mine is liking things that aren’t very mainstream. I like things that no one’s heard of, and that I don’t bother bringing up in conversation because it would take too long to explain. This habit is especially prominent in my choice of books, and when you combine this with my habit of doing things the difficult way, you end up with an interesting situation.
You see, back when I first started writing fantasy, I fell in love with a set of books called Dragonlance: The New Adventures, which was a series targeting a younger audience that follows the adventures of five teenagers. It has elves, and magic, and an evil sorceress, and dragons, and a shapeshifter, and magic, and adventure, and swords, and magic–pretty much all of the base elements I needed to begin my career in fantasy. The characters were unique, the story was simple but engaging, and just the fact that it was something light and easy to read, open for all ages, made the genre really shine for me.
Reading those books and living that adventure was a lot of fun–was something that captured my imagination and my passion–and I knew that I had to create my own books, my own adventures. I wanted to have my own heroic characters, my own daring quest, and my own magic-filled world. These books were one of the most influential factors that started me writing.
They’ve got huge sentimental value, and for a few years, I could depend on the library to allow me access to these books and their inspiration. But when the library removed them from circulation and my access was cut off, I was forced to find a new method. I was going to have to buy the books, which would be difficult since they were out of print and weren’t the most popular books on the shelves. So I hopped onto eBay and searched for them. I actually got some good results, but I quickly realized there were some problems:
- The books aren’t always in good condition
- Some books in the middle of the series are almost impossible to find
- Buying on a budget makes things difficult
There are 23 books total in the series, so I really can’t afford to be spending a whole lot per book (especially with international shipping rates). All these criteria make it a challenge to collect the books–most of the time it feels like a treasure hunt–but that’s made it all the more fun. And when you add in the fact that my best friend even pitched in and bought me two books for my birthday, it gets even better. Collecting these books has become my personal quest and a small little adventure, and it’s one that I get to share with my friend. The sentimental value increased a hundred times.
Even though this is one of the most difficult ways to buy books, and can take a lot of time and money, I feel so much more satisfied when I add a new one to my collection. I know that it took a lot of searching and perseverance to get it and there’s an irresistible feeling of excitement and triumph when the mail arrives and there’s a package in the mailbox. And when I put them on my shelf, all scuffed up and worn, I realize that these books are worth more to me than any other book I own. Even though this method takes a lot more effort than just walking into a book store and buying a book off the shelf, I think I prefer the treasure hunt more.
Life is full of challenges and hidden treasure. It takes us out of our way, makes us work twice as hard, and sometimes doesn’t give us success. But the successes we do earn are worth a hundred times more than any success easily won. These quests are more satisfying, more rewarding, and have the best triumphs. They take time and effort, but they give back happiness and self-empowerment.
My habits make parts of my life a challenge, but I like that. Every once in a while, I like having to fight for things that matter to me. These books are some of those things, and they make for a worthy quest indeed.
Do you have any challenging quests?
May you always accept life’s challenges and be rewarded richly for your success.