Sunday, March 13, 2011

Writing to Live Forever


This last weekend I had the chance to escape with my hubby, leave the kiddos with their grandparents, and enjoy just-us-time for a few days.  It was awesome.  I forced myself to leave my MS at home.  My mind needed a break, now that I have entered the paper edit phase.  It was hard... almost as hard as leaving my kiddos for a few days.  But it was all so needed.

(I couldn't help but think of it though.  Alot.  Too much plotting I must say, if that is even possible.  And, to boot, hubby is working on reading it and started reading some outloud to me.  It is amazing, hearing your own writing read back to you in someone else's voice.  It almost didn't feel real.)

One of our stops while enjoying the coast was going to an antique mall.  Now, I have never been all that obsessed with antiques.  They are amazing, and beautiful, and priceless.  And because of that, nine times out of ten I am afraid to even breath on them, much less touch them.  Still, we wandered the aisles, taking in all these old odds and ends that make up our history.

Then, we happened upon the books.  Stacks of books.  Shelves full of books.  Old covers, some barely intact.  Yellow pages, musty with age.  I ran my finger along the spines, carefully reading every title.  I breathed in their musk.  I imagined the author, plucking out each word to create this amazing piece of work that would settle them into the archives of history. 

They are all gone.  The creators of these words don't walk here now, don't sit in that chair now to read.  But their books are still alive and breathing with the worlds that are encased forever inside.

I have said this before. 
We write to live forever.

Its not all about fame and fortune, popularity and best-sellers.  We write to put ourselves in the archives of time.  Someday a finger will trail along the aged spine of the book we wrote.  The eyes will devour these worlds we created, even long after our own eyes are closed.  All of this madness, this sleepless writing and headache inducing editing isn't for nothing.

Its for everything.

My fingers curled around two books.  Neither are genres I usually devour.  One is a small collection of poetry, from 1900-1940.  Inside the front cover, in careful penmanship, is written "To my Beloved wife, Eleanor - Karl 1943"  The poetry is gorgeous, the book given as a gift out of love.  The other is simply titled "John Halifax"  I do not know why I needed this book.  It does not even have a print date.  I read a paragraph somewhere in the middle, about an old actress that no one saw but they all speak about.  No one that is but the main character, who remembers her every word.  It was beautiful.

These books, simple and old, could not be left there unloved on shelves.  They needed homes.  They needed me.  I might sound crazy, but those of you out there who also love our paper-bound friends know what I mean.  You nod along, remembering the feeling as you too bought a random book, just so you could let it sit on your shelf.  It is a love, an obsession, that we are not ashamed about.  I wish I could have rescued all of the others.  But for now, these two are home.

"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die."
Isaac Asimov

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