Today is a day to think about how books affect us.
I’m a writer so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m also a reader. Avid is the word I would use and sometimes obsessive is another phrase I’d tack on to my literary addiction. If you’re reading this, I assume you’re a reader, too. As such I’m sure you can relate to what I’m going to share with you.
Working on rewrites with book 2 in my series has brought about ideas for books 3, 4, and 5. At first I was over the moon that I now know the beginning middle and end of this series that has lived in my mind for so long. It’s become a very real place, this world I’ve created with characters I’ve come to see as old friends. I have glimpses of this world in my mind’s eye when I’m not writing and I’m struck by such a powerful urge to get back to my notebook and keep writing. However, I’ve also started feeling anxious about what happens next.
When I read a really good book, I invest not just time but emotions in the story. The characters become part of my day to day life and I wonder what they’re doing and what will happen to them. The phrase THE END becomes bittersweet and I miss those people I invited in to my consciousness. The same will happen, one day, when I finish this series. Years from now I will write that same phrase on a page and mean it. For the longest time I didn’t understand this sensation when I read, but now as a writer I know exactly what to call it. It’s loss and for a period of time, sometimes a few days sometimes a week or two, I grieve. I grieve by not picking up a new story and think about the events over and over again. I remember the sad bits, the parts when I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know where I was leaving these friends before going to sleep, and I smile privately at some inside joke or moment of tenderness that I was allowed to witness.
I almost fear this with my own books. I know what will happen in book 5, but it hasn’t been written yet. So I can tell myself I have time. But the story continues to tell itself to me in quick snatches and long dreams insisting on being finished.
Just with the books I read, one day I’ll start to feel restless and unaccountable uncomfortable with my surroundings. I’ll tell myself it’s the weather or that the day to day hectic rush is getting to me. But I’ll realize I’m just missing my outlet—I’ll need a story. Only this time I’ll itch for a pen and I’ll meet a whole new batch of friends that I create despite knowing I’ll miss them terribly at some future date when I type the words…
That’s being a book lover. Enjoy the holiday!