Friday, March 14, 2014
By Beckie Carlson
I read a book the other day. Actually, I have read about four in the last month. Doesn't sound like much, but I actually haven't had the opportunity to read for ME for a long time. School kind of took over my life in almost every way. I took a mere 57 credits last year alone so, no wonder I had no time for pleasure reading.
I broke back into the 'reading world' with easy reads. I bought several Jenni James fairy tales for my 5th grade class and figured I better check them out before I put them in my library. I was priviledged to see Jenni speak at my recent writers conference and she was.....spunktacular. Fun, spunky, creative, ADHD, and basically....spunktacular. No other word really fits. I decided that if her books were 1/4 as enjoyable as she was, they would be a hit. I was right. She has a way with words that makes you not want to put a book down. She isn't one of those flowery, 'let me show you how many adjectives I know', kind of writers, she is a writer for the every day person. I get her.
After a couple JJ books, I dove into a book I picked up at Barnes and Nobles. One of the few stalwart brick and mortar stores that hasn't dissolved into memory. Please stay open!!! It is painful for me to go to book stores. As much as I love them, with their seemingly endless displays of books and words and pages and....sigh. I love bookstores. It is painful because I want to be part of the 'club.' I want to finish my book and put it out there. Its like an elite club that is only open to people that actually finish their books and send them in and get them published and have agents that actually market for them. Easy, right? So why isn't my book there? Why aren't there a dozen of my books there? arg!
The book I read was really wonderful. It was called The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. I chose it because the cover spoke to me. I think I've mentioned before how I judge books by their covers? Yeah, this one was great. The guts of the book lived up to the promise of the cover. It was a sweet love story full of pain and longing and fears and courage and all those things we all have or want or need. I need an Oliver. Read it, you'll understand.
As much as I know I can write well, sometimes when I read a really good book like TSPOLAFS, I get really intimidated. I want to write something beautiful like that. I want to have people pause in their reading and say, "wow.....I totally get that...." or to have a tear come to their eyes as their heart surges toward my character. I want my readers to lay on their bed after they finish my book and let my characters wander around in their minds, finding lasting life in their thoughts. I want what I write to mean something.
It is no small thing being a writer. We put our heart and soul into what we write. We not only put our thoughts and dreams into our stories, we ARE our stories. When a writer puts their words down on paper, it might as well have been written with their own blood. Its more than a 'carbon footprint', it's a heart print. It may not mean anything to anyone else, but it means something to us. It's a little bit or sometimes a big bit of our self we share with the world. Our stories are living things, born in the womb of our creative mind, nurtured with the input of all that we see or experience. It's hard to let a story go. Hard to set it free out into the world. We are afraid it might fail, not find friends, not be able to make ends meet, and end up back at home, taking up space in the basement. But no matter where they go, no matter who else likes them, they are still our babies. Cause I said so.
Photo credit: www.paragonfineart.com