By now, my book is out there in the world and you may even be reading it. You may be loving it, you may not, and over this bit, I have absolutely no control. It is how it is. My responsibility ended as I caught the words from the air around me and laid them down upon a blank sheet of A4. The thoughts and feelings that will arise in you as a result of reading those words, in the order I chose, will relate to your life, not mine, and, in that moment of connection, become something new.
Over the years I have found such connections myself as I devoured the stories of many folk in many places and times. Sometimes I have been tearful for the writer, the hero, or for myself as I become lost in a life that connects deeply with my own. Sometimes thrilling with delight at the way a story bubbles and chatters over the stones like a clear fall of mountain water after new rain. In a well written tale, I can hear the voices and see the landscape. I can smell the wind and taste the grit of it in my mouth; I can feel the warm skin of a dancing child and shiver at the ice cold of a closed mind or a bitter Arctic night. I can twist and turn in the sweaty damp of an unfriendly sleeping bag and I can pull quickly back into the shadows to hide as a cruel drama unfolds before me. I can waken in the night to remember, and then wish I could forget. In short, I become part of the story, and yet play no part at all. I may follow this person, or that. I may long to go back, to see what happened to the child, or the old woman, even knowing that I may not; not until the writer catches the words and lays them down for me on the page. Sometimes I even forget to breathe, so lost am I in the story.
And every one is real.
Although it may be a work of fiction, you can bet that the writer is in there somewhere, for, if not, the tale would be as dull as a Monday shopping list.
But it is not just in books that I can connect with another life. I can find stories in faces along the island roads and they can touch me just as deeply. Of course, we don’t often get to this level on a daily basis – merely exchanging husband news or word of new additions to the family, new accomplishments, new sofas, new guests and so on, but the eyes are the windows to the soul and no mistake. Some bright chirpy person can tell me one thing with their mouth and quite another through their eyes. I do it myself, did it for years.
You are always so bright! They told me, and because it was the done thing, I kept doing it.
Just like you do, or most of you. There are some that might consider leaving their list of ailments and complaints at home, for we all have them to some degree or other and I have found from experience that those with most to complain about, usually don’t. And when I meet those people, who have made a decision not to bore the bejabers out of the rest of us, telling us things we can do nothing whatsoever about and causing rain to fall on that precious moment of shared sunshine, I find my supplies of compassion and respect, verging on reverence, threaten to overwhelm me altogether. My whole day changes as I guess my way into their life and out again feeling humbled. Suddenly my load lightens, supposing I thought I had one in the first place.
There is always an argument between reality and fairyland. I have always preferred fairyland, finding reality way too matter-of-fact for me, and, as we know, these Matters of Fact change daily according to the latest discovery/statistic/breaking news. Shifting sands I reckon, whereas fairyland is always fairyland and you can depend on it remaining so forever, for in that world (the real world in my opinion) we are allowed to be individual in our response to that which we observe. All views are acceptable. Nobody is right and nobody is wrong, for we all see things in different ways according to our creed, birthright,childhood and experiences. And we should stand tall and proud inside our own story, and sing it out, for it is the only one we can really tell.