Books, Slice of life

Beginnings

In the beginning… it was a dark and stormy night… call me Ishmael… it is a truth universally acknowledged…. in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

These are all beginnings. Lines that have kicked off stories, taking readers by their imaginations and leading them into realms of thought and whole new worlds. Stories can be read from the safety of an armchair and promise adventure without the risk. We can follow the story, comfortably making friends with the characters, until an unexpected twist turns the story on end. The conflict builds into a climax to create the arch of the story. Our new fictional friends may suffer for the twist, but we readers love having a front seat to the action.

This gives us a break from the twists in our own lives, which often seem disorienting. We are the characters in this story away from the safety of our armchair and often our beginnings don’t make sense. We wish we could have anyone’s story but our own. It is a mishmash of storylines. Here we are in the beginning on a stormy night, and a man named Ishmael is going to tell you about universal truths while hobbits live in the ground, and there is a frickin dragon looming on the horizon. You can wait for the twist to happen to you, to feel the fire of the dragon’s breath. Or saddle up with Ishmael and take your universal truth to the dragon itself. Go on an adventure and be the best character of your own story.

It’s like the 90s song… “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Have a beautiful beginning.

Books, Publishing, Slice of life

Midnight Musings and a Bookish Perspective

Tonight, I find my fascination turning once again to the collection of words that we call a book. This strange curation of an author’s imagination pressed in black ink upon the delicate souls of trees bound, tied together and pressed between two covers. What is it about this ordinary item that captures us, that captures me so?

At this point in my life, I’ve handled many books. I’ve rifled through 10-cent book sale bins in surplus, wandered among stacks in the basements of old bookstores, and admired crisp new hardcovers stacked high on warehouse shelves. They are common objects and yet, they are anything but ordinary.

Words on the printed page are intimate. They are chosen, crafted, built upon the geography of a page. They allow you to read someone’s thoughts in your own voice. And their poignancy deepens when met with the unique experience of each reader. For this reason, no story will ever be experienced the same way. A scene conceived in the mind of an author will take on a whole new aspect in the mind of the reader. Some book characters will be your friends, but others will most definitely be your enemies. (And not every reader will agree on who is friend or foe!)

It all depends upon your experiences, your personality, your perspective. This is not to say that the author’s vision isn’t to be considered, but we all have different lines of sight in this world. It’s important for us to consider those beyond our own, and then embrace the opportunities that new ideas present.

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”
– Margaret Atwood

This is why the written word continues to fascinate me. Books are an eternal expression of life, and their impact resonates into our lives long after the last full stop. So I ask, dear reader… what do you bring to the bound pages of a book… and what will you take away?