Dear Author of every book,
I would like to thank you. Do you have even an inkling of what you are responsible for?
You are the one who removes us entirely from our own bodies. We enter the souls of your characters. We want the best for them. Yet sometimes we hate them so much that we would like to call you on the phone, the one who invented them, and shout at you with frustration. Why are these people so horrible? Why did you make them so evil? But then we realize that hating somebody on the page is preferable to despising a real person. We have to remind ourselves that those villains are not real. Even if they are based on actual villains. But they help us forget the actual villains, if only for awhile.
You make us hungry sometimes. For scones, hot thick soup on a wintry day. For toast, with crumbs left behind in the sheets. You make us wish we had a green thumb or liked to hike. You remind us to lock the doors. You sometimes make us wish for sex or even simple romance. . We look at our own partners and wonder “How on earth did I end up with them?”
Sometimes, when we are so very lucky, you transport us altogether, and we forget who we are, where we are, if we had breakfast, lunch or dinner, and if we need to go to the bathroom. Your characters whisper, shout, sing, or simply talk to us in language our souls can understand.
You make us mourn when the book is finished. Or sometimes, you make us laugh so hard that it is a relief that the book is over so we can catch our breath. You give us hope, dash those hopes sometimes, but you never leave us without a lasting impression.
Some of you do this better than others. Some of you have the sort of genius that the rest of us envy and wish we had. Some of you are so brilliant that your words will speak to people who have not even been born. Your work lives perhaps even after you yourself have died.
Some of you are not great. Maybe you aren’t even good. But you invent a story that is so compelling that your ability to tell it well can be overlooked in the simple thrill of following the threads of your plot until the surprising or twisted ending. We can forgive you for your lack of brilliance stringing words together, because you came up with a damn good story.
But those of you who can tell a story as well as thread it with the brilliance of your words–you are the masters, and we are all thankful that you exist, that you write, and that you enhance our lives with every word.
Times are very uncertain right now. You know who is saving us? It’s those magnanimous writers who share their souls with us and keep us sane, enlightened, hopeful, heartbroken, happy, scared out of our wits–all that and more. We are grateful.