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Monday, April 28, 2014

A Curious Madness

Novels are a curious kind of madness.

On the surface a novel is deceptively simple. It's pulped wood and ink, or perhaps twenty-six graceless letters thrown in lines on an e-reader. A book alone is good for very little more than propping open doors or smacking wayward students with.

But when the book is placed in the presence of a reader it becomes something decidedly more. At times the book becomes a fantastic voyage to wondrous worlds without end. At other times the book becomes a testament of endurance and love. And at still other times the book becomes the life-rope pulling a wounded warrior to safety from the depths of despair.

Sometimes that's all the same book.

Creating a book is in itself an act of madness. The non-writer stares in wonderment and ask, "Where do you get ideas?" The writer stares back and ask, "How can you not have hundreds?"

The writer, like so many artists, is not fully caught up in the reality that can be measured by math and science. Authors walk a shadowy line between the truth and the maybes, between the Is and the Could-Have-Been. And these shadows stretch and dance, lurid phantoms drawing the author ever onward into the places of What Ifs, What Nows, and What Abouts.

In this place of changing truths there are stories for the ages, but visiting that place leaves a writer changed, transformed perhaps. No one can step across the boundary without coming back and seeing the world in a different way. The lines of reality that should not be crossed become mere suggestions in places. The staunchly held belief that This Is The Way It Has Always Been And Will Always Be becomes the thought of the moment and no more.

Authors know that the world is meant to change. And they want to change it by giving you a book and taking you away from your hum-drum reality for a few hours. So grab a book, put your feet up, and come see the universe. You'll feel better after a book vacation.

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