Playing Catch Up- My Literary Life

Written By: Nicole Anne Ratliff
“Come on, Nicole.”
“We are going without you!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!”
I never wanted to be the kid that was left behind. If my sisters could do it, so could I. This was seen in practically every aspect of my life. They took AP classes, were cheerleaders, class presidents, had jobs… And although I was a year behind them, I walked almost perfectly in their footsteps.


Me and My Older Sister, Claire

Growing up, well into my high school years, I followed this path. One of the main aspects of my sisters’ lives that I always admired was their love for literature. As with school and extracurricular activities, I didn’t want to be left behind when they would stay up late on school nights and weekends reading fantastic stories and then discussing plots, themes, rhetorical devices, and sharing reactions to the twists and surprises that came with each page. In the mornings I would then wait for them to come out of their room so that I could be the next one in line to read the book. And while I enjoyed that for a while, it always felt like I was playing catch up. Running and getting so close, but always somehow falling so far behind.
During my junior year of high school everything changed. My sisters were moving on, one was headed off to college and the other was enjoying her senior year. Their interests began to change and I realized that I could no longer follow them like I was so comfortable doing. It was time that I found who I was. During this time I took AP English Language and Composition and I fell in love. I could now pick out all the rhetorical devices in a text, analyze plots and themes, and find my own books to bring to my sisters to read. Not only did I catch up, but it finally felt like the race had subsided. We were now all walking along the same path, helping each other along the way. I was no longer on the sidelines, but rather a participating member engaged in the late night conversations and daily book exchange.

Me and My Older Sister, Harli

Since that year, mine and my sisters’ interests have evolved. While they chose the math and science fields, I decided to take the route of English. With this my world has become one that is filled with the joys of reading and studying all aspects of the English language.
A dominant part of this world is still reading and recommending books to my sisters so that when we all get together we can have discussions like those nights that seem so long ago. I have also moved from doing this with my sisters to other family members, friends, and even random people who I just so happen to strike a conversation with. Sharing the love I have for books, authors, and even writing styles, makes me happy. And the sharing of viewpoints and knowledge is like the cherry on top.


A race is what brought me into this literary world, but it was the knowledge that I gained that kept me here.

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