When I was growing up, my parents always had a dozen or more paperback novels lying around the house. They swapped these books with friends, and our homes were like lending libraries.
I devoured these books from an early age and read mysteries, science fiction, westerns, biographies, and mainstream fiction. Each time I opened a book, it was like stepping into a new world. I was a detective, an Arctic explorer, an astronaut, and hundreds of other characters who lived in my imagination. I was a lot like Walter Mitty in that respect.
In high school, I read the classics, books like Treasure Island, Jane Eyre, Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, and The Old Man and the Sea. I feasted on Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, Joyce, Vonnegut, Tolkien, and many others, and I didn't read Cliffs Notes.
Eventually I wanted to craft my own prose into readable books, to massage and mold and bend the English language into poems, short stories, and novels. I started doing so when I was sixteen and eventually became a high school and college instructor, teaching composition as well as English and American literature. Years later, students told me that they actually remembered some of my lectures even when they were passing notes that my socks didn't match.
As a ghostwriter, I get to write professionally and help published authors, celebrities, and everyday people produce books that have likewise excited the imaginations of other people, perhaps young kids whose parents have their own lending libraries.
I love language and storytelling, and I've never had any regrets about my career paths. It's been a great ride.