On Being a Reader

When I first undertook to write a novel I just wanted to write a book that I would want to read.  After all that is what made me an avid reader ever since I was big enough to open a book   One of the fondest memories of my father (who btw turns 87 today!) is when he would take us to the local public library.  I was six and he would load us up in the car every Monday night and head over to the neighborhood branch.  It was a veritable treasure trove of places to go and people to meet in the pages of the books I loved and that had the power to transport, transfix and help me transcend whatever I couldn’t handle in real life.

As a writer, you can’t help but want to make your reader laugh, cry, think, remember or just feel, but the best stories are those that do that on deep background – a great sleight of ‘word’, so that your reader doesn’t actually know that it is happening.  It’s an organic process that you can’t overtly set out to do or your audience will smell the manipulation a mile away.  You have to write yourself into a place where you are literally taking dictation from your characters, but to get to that point you have to write a lot of bad pages.

Now that my first novel is ‘out there,’ I can move on once again to that second novel that I couldn’t quite start because the first one wouldn’t leave me alone.  And I can also, for a time, read again because other people’s words aren’t competing in my head with the characters from my first book.  In truth, I don’t know if I have another novel in me, but there’s only one way to find out and that’s to write and never forget the magic of words on paper.

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