Friday, July 22, 2011

Sketches of Humanity

“A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.” – Aldous Huxley

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“We give in to our fears by small degrees” the quote began. I stopped rifling through the pages of my notebook and continued to read. “For all our bravery it won’t stop the world from changing in the blink of an eye. We come away different, changed in subtle ways. Life is the teacher who first taught us there are no guarantees or warnings to duck when we’re sucker punched out of left field. Instinct or impulse, who’s to say why we take the hand we’re dealt and make the most of it. An act ingrained in our humanity much like breathing with each unconscious inhale and exhale which escapes our lungs.”

In retrospect I realized this paragraph described me; the whole context of what, how, and why I write. The guts of what I strive to explore in words, the pain, survival, and hardship underlining my every waking moment. The want and need to understand why something brings someone joy or awakens a smile. For every action there must be a reaction, a need to know how you got from point A to point B, without some miraculous injection of surrealism.

Keep this in mind while I mention a book I recently read that didn’t quite…mesh well with me. One of those feel good books, with pages drenched in sappy, too good to be true plot lines throughout. No, I won’t mention which book. You’ll discover why soon enough. Although not my usual fare, I still read the book all the way through. Why? I think in the end, I wanted to try to understand why the author wrote the book to begin with. Why not disperse a bit of pain and agony, along the way to give each emotion a worthy contender and a reason to be appreciated?

Every book that is written has some deep rooted catharsis of the writer enmeshed beneath the words. Take away the believability and reality from the equation and what is left? Did the author need to write this book for an escape, a diversion from life? My experience tells me reality is stranger than fiction, so imagination alone isn’t enough of a directive to explain away the cheat sheet of happily ever after fairytale ending. I want to see the characters earn that ending.

Without a doubt someone will have read this book and found substance where I found none.

Do we read to escape or to better understand and grasp a different viewpoint of life? Everyone takes what they need from between the pages of a book.

Reasoning is always peppered throughout the bold overview beneath words unspoken on a page, if we look. Yet words alone don’t quite encompass the whole, do they? We tend to take what we need from words. The mediocre becomes a balm to fear and pain, comedy a filter against heartbreak and stress, and horror grinding reality into bone.

Hence the quote beginning this post, “A bad book is as much a labor to write as a good one.” A gift of words in any format isn’t to be taken lightly. I won’t judge a book, I’m more likely to explore the author. What I will do is write for me, plant echoes of myself between the words, and someday get read by someone who found substance between the pages…when someone else might not. And maybe, someone will even have the same view of something I wrote such as the book I couldn’t fathom. Words hold secrets entrapped between the pages, treasure troves for individual discretion. How deep will you dig between the lines? - Indigo

Picture From Here