I love reading. Love it so much that when I don’t read for a while, I feel hollow, like a vital organ is missing. Until recently, that was just one of many quirky characteristics I have, not something anyone would envy, or admire. Turns out, though, that it is. Something some people envy or admire.
While thinking I was simply a reader, I went to BookCon, and discovered that there is a world where readers have a special kind of celebrity. It’s a celebrity born of an author’s need for their audience, and the publisher’s need for sales. And I discovered something else. I’m not an ordinary reader. I don’t simply open a book and enjoy it for its story. I think about its crafting, the characters, what they do and what they did BEFORE the story started, and what they will do at the end of the story. I am a THINKING reader and those readers actually can play a role in the creative process. They are beta readers and sometimes, they are developmental editors. This is a very interesting thing to think about.
Writing, now that was something for others that had imagination or observational talents. Or both. Something I didn’t have, or at least didn’t have in any useful way. I could play “pretend” but ultimately, my stories were grounded in reality…and didn’t have enough depth to become something a “writer” would create. Nor enough length. There has never been a time when I didn’t have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head. Sometimes the thoughts move slowly enough that I can tell what they are. Other times they move so fast, they’re like little light trails–the kind you get when you see a firefly from the corner of your eye. You know you saw something–or in this case, thought it–but it disappeared so fast you can’t figure out what it was.
So, while I’ve had lots of ideas about essays, or articles. Even a few books! But those ideas flew through my head (or strolled through) and never had enough staying power to become something. Lately, many of the bouncing light trails of my thoughts have been about writing. It started last summer when I realized that instead of rock stars, or TV stars or movie stars or plain old celebrities, I am a fan of authors. In particular, I am a fan of authors who write about characters I come to care about, in challenging situations. I’m a fan of authors who don’t make it easy on their readers. Or themselves.
The first author I was a fan of was a girl I met in eighth grade, who became my best friend and who knew she was a writer when she was still a child. She wrote. She wrote a book…and another one…and one after that. And I read what she wrote. I thought about what I read and I commented. And seeing what was involved in writing, after a very long time, a seed was planted in my head. I could analyze. Maybe I could edit. Maybe I could even write.
Just a couple of weeks ago, another friend, this one very recently met and (at that) only in a virtual world, asked me to beta read her manuscript…her very first full-length novel. And I did. And that seed grew. Alot. Very quickly. And then came BookCon. And I now have a full grown plant in my head. So to speak. I feel called to something for the first time in my adult life. I feel called to build some part of my life around reading and writing.
First, I thought about a very general blog. Just a series of random writings on those fleeting thoughts that occasionally stick around long enough to have a little bit of form. Then, I considered articles; non-fiction, but on what topic? There are so many topics I am interested in, but so few where I actually have any depth of expertise.
I began anyway. With no idea where my writing would go, or stay. With no idea if there would be enough to write about. I began anyway. And every day, I would write. Just a little sometimes. Just refining what was written sometimes. And sometimes pouring out words and ideas that were akin to the waterfall I would sit next to, and read near, as a child. A few days later, I realized I had made a decision. And a commitment. I would write. And I would see what path that would take me down. The path has so far led me here. I wonder where it will go?