Anybody who knows me at all knows that I love books. In fact, I will buy them just to have them, the way some girls buy shoes, or makeup, or clothes, or whatever. Because I might read them one day. I want a life-library like Alaska Young. I want the library from Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version, because that’s the version that I remember seeing as a kid). I just love the feeling of holding a book. I don’t know that I could ever explain why, or how come, or why I don’t just buy the Kindle version (I do have a Kindle, and those versions are much cheaper even for brand new books).
There’s just something about holding a book in your hands and seeing words. To me, it is proof that humans can do magic, and proof of a very creative, very intelligent, very wonderful God. To me, books and writing represent something other than symbols on a page. They represent a Creator in Who’s image we were created. He has to be incredibly imaginative in order to have come up with all that we see around us. Just as He created the world and the universe, we unknowingly attempt to imitate that through exercising our own imaginations and sharing it with others.
I’m thinking about books a lot today in particular, because I just bought 27
new used ones from a huge Bookmans sale at their warehouse. Yeah, 27 books that I’ve never read before. You know the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, that almost makes it feel like you’re choking while nothing is anywhere near your neck, that excitement and adrenaline and almost-but-not-quite-nervous feeling that you get when you’re apprehensive but super unbelievably happy about something that’s happening? That’s how I feel when I get a new book to read.
And I currently have almost 30.
I just bought Henrik Ibsen, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Orwell, and Jodi Picoult. I don’t even know where to start, especially considering that I’m already in the middle of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Which is, by far, one of the best YA books I think I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it. It’s artistic and almost every page has some jewel. Like this one:
“They say war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: ‘Get it done, get it done.’ So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more.”
I love books like The Book Thief, and I would honestly love to write one. In fact, I’ve started to do so. It’s coming along, slowly but surely, word by painstaking word. But many days, I get discouraged and start to feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work, the amount of writing it involves. Sometimes I can ride a wave of inspiration for over twenty pages, and other times I will sit for an hour and nothing comes. But I’m learning. As I keep writing, I’m learning that “a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” (Thomas Mann). I realize how true that is when I hear other people say things like, “I could have written that.” And I think, Well, why don’t you try? Or when people say something along the lines of “Being an author would be so easy.” And I think, How do you know?
I see authors who pump out books like most of us release carbon dioxide and I wonder, How good could that book be? They wrote it too quickly. But then, as I sit down to write my own, I realize how much time and effort they must have put in, how many visions and revisions.
Sometimes I wonder if God did the same thing with earth, but then I also realize He’s not human. He doesn’t have a human brain that needs to work things out. He already knows. He doesn’t need the backspace key when He’s writing our stories, and that’s comforting to me, because real life has no backspace, no ctrl+z. (For you non-techie people, ctrl+z is a shortcut on your keyboard for “undo.” You’re welcome.)
Right now, I don’t even really know what this blog post is about, much less how my own life will end. I don’t even know how the life of the character in my own book will end.
It’s a daunting task, authoring lives and deaths and worlds, maybe universes, into and out of existence. I have 27 of them sitting in a box next to me on the couch. That’s scary (but exciting, because they’re, you know, books).
And I’m thankful for a God who’s capable of it.
I’m also thinking that I probably used too many parenthesis in this piece, but who’s counting anyway?