As a kid I used to sit inside stories while everyone else went out to play. Not so much inside writing stories, though I did that too, but inside the tales themselves.
I wasn't just reading-- coursing eyes over words, absorbing only a few in each line, just enough to grab the gist of it and move on. I was inside, living it, shaping my own life to fit. I remember vividly making friends with a tree in my father's apartment complex during a thunderstorm. I was so deeply entrenched in the adventures of the Pevensies that I really believed I could wile my way into Narnia, too. The most obvious way seemed to be through the good graces of the unappreciated denizens of our own world... and it really was a nice old tree. (I seem to remember it talking back to me, but perhaps that's something I should best keep to myself.)
Being ripped away from an absorbing book had almost a physical pain, leaving me sullen and graceless, bereft (though being a teenager helped with that part, too). I wanted back IN and when my book would end I'd find myself floundering. Where to go? What to do?
The answer, clearly, was to find another story to shelter me in it's world. Thank God for series'.
It's harder these days to find books that consume me so entirely as they did back then. I don't know if it's because the books I read aren't as good or if I'm simply not as capable of that absorbing suspension of disbelief. Part of the problem now, too, is that escaping so completely away just isn't feasible in my life anymore. Sure, I can get sucked in and read until 4 in the morning... but I still have to get up at 6. It's lovely to sit down for a bit while the girls nap, but with an ear out for them and a corner of my mind on the laundry, dishes and dinner, it's not quite so easy to sink into the dream.
Still, for all life's distractions and all my grown-up responsibilities and sensibilities, I'd really love to find two nearly mythical things: a perfect moment outside of time and inside a perfect book.