Hi there! I'm Quinten Voordeckers and this is the story of the Read More Warrior and me.
How it all began
Prologue: Why I couldn't Fall Asleep
I’ve had problems with falling asleep for as long as I can remember. When I was little, it was my fear of the dark that kept me awake. But as I got older, the root of my sleeplessness changed. A little voice in my head, which only seemed to emerge when I really wanted to sleep, was the new bad guy.
It was a curious voice, it thought about new inventions such as reverse sunglasses. These sunglasses would make you see at night and let you control the darkness. In that way, it would help kids with conquering their fear of darkness step-by-step. The voice was also courageous. It wanted to make the world a better place. One of the crazy ideas of this voice was to travel around the world and talk with homeless people. The voice was also honest, I often thought it was even a bit too honest. It seemed as if the voice knew me better than me.
However, the voice didn’t fit with who I was during the day. I had a good reputation as a kind student who got good grades, but I was rather shy. That was who I was, I didn’t want this voice to be seen in the light, so I buried the voice in the ground. Little did I know that it was a seed, eager to sprout.
Chapter 1: A Call In The Belgian Ardennes
High school became university and I started with my study of bioscience engineering. Around the same time, I rediscovered my passion for reading books. I was addicted. I wanted to read more, More, MORE BOOKS!!! All the while, the little voice grew and grew and subconsciously extended its roots throughout my whole mind.
One day I was on the toilet of a café in the Belgian Ardennes, scrolling on my phone. With an astonished face, I saw messages coming in saying “Congratulations” from fellow students. Some of them I barely knew. The problem was, I didn’t know what I was congratulated for.
I wiped my ass and left the toilet, heading back to my friends. Before I could reach the table, my mom called me. So, I went outside and picked up the phone.
“Hi mom, everything alright?”
“Congratulations son! You’re the best bioscience engineering student of your year!”
I think I should have felt excited at that moment and I kind of did. However, other feelings obscured this excitement. I felt like an imposter. I knew so many other students who were more competent and passionate bioscience engineers than me. This ‘achievement’ didn’t feel fulfilling. It seemed as if the outside world was happy about it but this happiness couldn’t penetrate my skin. Out of nothing, the little voice said: “Why are you good at something you don’t want to be good at?” It was the first time that the little voice appeared during the day. The little seedling had emerged from the soil after extending its roots throughout my whole mind. “Why don’t you stop your studies? You’re never going to do anything with it anyway.” That sentence struck me deeply and the foundations of my self-image trembled. “You know that books are your real passion.”
Maybe it was time for me to listen to that voice.
Chapter 2: The Birth of The Read More Warrior
During the next months, I nourished the seedling with books, watered it with interesting conversations, and illuminated it with an insight. The insight that books possess great power. I spend a long time looking at the seedling, to see if it was growing. Unfortunately, I didn’t see even the slightest change. However, when I came back the next day, I saw a new leaf. It had been growing slowly but steadily. It grew into a sapling ready to become a big tree until one day it blossomed. The flower opened and I saw a tiny stickman pointing his sword toward me. He held a book in front of him like a shield. I wondered who the little red origami bird next to him was. She seemed very curious. That was when the Read More Warrior was born. I grabbed him and put him in a tiny cage on the internet: my blog readmorewarrior.com. Nobody knew of the website’s existence so nobody could see him. In that way, I kept him only for me.
Chapter 3: A Visit To The Book Doctor
One day, I sat in the ancient city hall of Leuven waiting in front of the temporary office of the book doctor. She had arranged that she could have the mayor’s desk for one day. When it was my turn, I went through the door which was held open by a friendly-faced woman in a white lab coat. On the desk, I saw some books scattered around and a pile of doctor’s prescriptions. I still wasn’t completely comfortable with the idea that a book doctor existed.
I told her about the little voice in my head and my passion for books and how the combination of both had given birth to the Read More Warrior. I told her how cool it was that she was book doctor who helped people by recommending books. We had a lovely conversation and she recommended me some books (if you’re curious: The Gifts of Imperfection, and The Power of Vulnerability both by Brené Brown). There is one sentence she said that I still remember clearly to this day: “Stay close to yourself.” That was when I decided to show the Read More Warrior to some friends and family because for me that meant staying close to myself.
A lot of my friends and family who I showed the stories about the Read More Warrior on my blog were enthusiastic about it and tried to convince me to show this Warrior to the world. At first, I was too scared to do it. What would people think? Until one day a long walk and talk with my godmother inspired me to take the step and let the Read More Warrior free.
Epilogue: Now what?
Now, the Warrior and I are on our journey of lifelong learning, not only in the comfort of the dark, but also in the blinding light of the day. We are on a quest to find the 50 most life-changing books. We tell stories. We listen to people. We read, we write, we draw. We learn, every single day. We search for weapons that help us slay the dragon Resistance. We want to learn about photography, videography, web design, and speaking. In other words, all skills that will give us new ways of telling stories. There are still a lot of things waiting to be figured out: Should we use social media or not? If yes, in what way? In which language will we speak? Will we tell fiction or non-fiction stories? Or both?