we’re all books.
When we’re born, our story begins. When we die, it ends.
When you have read the last page and close a book, you assume life rolls on after that story is over. You can’t dismiss that the rest of the characters continue, unavoidably effected in some way by that person who is no longer there.
But when the reader closes the book they can only assume….only guess how, where, when and to whom that effect will play out.
Will it be so strong that there’s a viable, marketable sequel? Or is it subtle, and only one small, barely detectable bit of the character in another story for which an editor would find it unnecessary to include a back story?
And what of those who died young? When they were 2 instead of 93? Is theirs considered an unfinished work? Abandoned by an author who found another project? Ran out of ideas? Ran out of pages of his own story?
Or is theirs simply a short story to be enjoyed as part of an anthology, or in LIT101?
Or has their story never been their own? Not large enough to be independently published, but essential to the completion of someone else’s tale? After all, their stories, cut short at 2…25…27…they informed and sometimes created the lead characters of the various books still being written, or resting now on the shelves.
Like one…93 chapters in…now complete.
And if we’re too conscious of this…that ours is a story still being written…or more specifically that theirs has ended…in good time or too soon…can we compromise the composition of our own by being too closely focused on theirs? We’re essentially effected by the presence of those whose volumes were written before. But do we sometimes allow their stories to eclipse our own? Making us mere minor characters with risk of being edited out rather than having their stories enhance our own?
I think so.
But we (no, I) feel so strongly that we should never forget, never minimalize these books. I want to keep them on my shelves, and share them with friends and family, caring for the little bound treasures.
Not always huddled in a room, obsessively reading, re-reading, sobbing, regretting…but rather occasionally on the couch on a rainy night by the fire place…Reading. Re-reading. With a smile and watering eyes.
Then handing it to my niece & nephew. “Here….you guys HAVE to read this.”