Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Author Courageous

Marissa did a great job explaining why we write, but I think there's even more to applaud in Gail's post. She didn't just write the book -- which is, of course, a monumental achievement. She is willing to share it, too.

A good novel, the most paradoxical of all the storytelling arts, requires that an intensely introverted and solitary sort (the author) hook up through time and space with someone they probably have never and will never meet (the reader), and together they create this magical connection we call "reading." That's such an inadequate word for the experience of a novel. You can "read" a tax form, a jury duty summons, a WalMart receipt. There's more to it when you open a novel and slide into the world the author created.

Without the benefit of graphics, or an actor to convey non-verbal communication, or a singer's voice to layer shades of meaning to lyrics, an author trusts that her novel will hook up with a stranger's imagination and create for that stranger the visions and emotions the author experienced when she put the words on paper.

If you think about it, the act of giving a novel to someone to read, and having that someone read the novel, is almost as intimate and mysterious and courageous as making love.

Either that, or I just link EVERYTHING to sex. It's a possibility.

Congrats to Gail and Marissa on their recent success! :)

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