I Am An Author

We spent the weekend about half an hour to the south, in Enfield, in north London. My in-laws live there. I brought along this famous title for “light” reading:

[War and Peace in my overnight bad. Photo by me, 2019.]

I am trying for the first time since graduate school to work my way once more through (in its entirety) that 1869 published classic. It is actually not as intimidating a read as its terrifying reputation implies. It is merely much longer than most novels and possesses a gigantic story scope and a bewildering number of characters; but grappling with all of that is part of the reading fun too.

You come away from another reading session feeling you are accomplishing something. (I wrote here previously that I consider “Natasha Rostova” one of my favorite women characters of all time: she starts off in 1805 as a young teen and matures over the years.) Reading more of it on Friday evening, I found myself also pausing and reflecting upon both the creating and the reading of fiction generally. Then on Saturday I happened upon this meme that was shared on Instagram:

[From Instagram. Original author unknown.]

It was all kinda familiar. I realized also that I hold a slightly different view. In particular, I have another take on the first line:

[By me.]

Yes, I am a writer. After all, I write. However, four finished books and well into writing a fifth, I consider myself now much more of an author.

[My novels so far. Paperback versions. Photo by me, 2018.]

A writer may write all he/she wants; but without readers that writing is merely a hidden hobby. For no one sees what is written. An author, however, invites in readers.

Preparing again for others to read what I’ve written…

[Sneak peek from Tomorrow The Grace. Click to expand.]

…I was also proofreading yesterday and I thought once more about the fact I am yet again unsure and uncomfortable about some of the things I have written, and I am writing about, in a manuscript. But that is also an aim. We should be unsure and uncomfortable at times in both our writing and in our reading.

As we are often in life.

The premise of fiction is actually, in its way, strange. Tales are invented, and heroes, villains, and those in between, all inhabit them. Even actual history – you get a sense of 1799-1800 there just above – may ground them.

The goal is usually a lesson of some kind. “Fantasy” is employed in order cogently, entertainingly (we hope), and grippingly (we also hope) to address issues that resonate with us as actual people. What is on the surface “strange,” is in reality meant to make us think.

No two people or situations are ever precisely the same. Such is also the case with fiction. Obviously no two novels are exactly alike either.

As neither are any two very real flowers.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂