The books that stick in my memory are those that have real people in real life situations, even if they’re fantasies or mysteries. They face problems, defeat them or are defeated by them, live, learn, change. I love immersing myself in their stories, and I laugh or cry with them. Years ago I rode the bus while reading A Tale of Two Cities, and tears streamed down my face when Sydney Carton faced the guillotine. I bonded instantly with a woman pouring over The Joy Luck Club while waiting for car repairs.
In other words, I’m a Nosy Nelly. This antiquated term means someone who’s so interested in other people’s business that she sticks her nose in everywhere. Since I don’t dare indulge myself by peeping in my neighbors’ windows, I restrict myself to books. Since my life has a finite limit and I’m not a time traveler, books let me make endless trips to fascinating eras and equally entrancing personalities. Since I’m not a millionaire, I don’t spend a penny on my voyages through books.
Visual artists enable their viewers to see things in a new way. They open their eyes. In the same manner, writers enable their readers to think about the world and life in new ways. They open their minds. So my cupidity* for knowing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people brings me rewards in addition to entertainment. How could I learn how a soldier in Viet Nam dealt with the armed conflict except through The Things They Carried? Catch a glimpse of a future I hope we can avoid in The Hunger Games? Get a sense of an immigrant’s situation in London in the course of White Teeth?
I’m neither limited to a single lifetime nor restricted in any other way. That’s why I read.
*Cupidity: greed, strong desire
I have a cool dentist. Not only is Dr. Steve a skilled and caring practitioner, he’s also a musician and composer of the folk-rock variety. His group, the Steve Law Band, performs in the metro Denver area, and I last heard them at the Capitol Hill People’s Fair.
So what? Writers are interested in all sorts of individuals. Each person has his own story. Dr. Steve is a multi-dimensional person and a great example of using your creativity and smarts throughout your life. Ordinary people can have extraordinary lives. Sample Steve’s work at http://www.stevelawmusic.com and learn about his dentistry at http://www.metrodentalcare.com/
I know lots of folks who, if you passed them on the street, might be overlooked. Once you get to know them, you learn of their fascinating interests and their exceptional activities. One woman gave me a five-minute overview of the intertwined social lives of common barn swallows, who work together to feed and protect fledglings. Another got the inside view of Alaska’s natural grandeur and shared it with me. Still a third, supposedly retired, just published a book on branding and marketing.
Goes to show that anyone just might have an extraordinary life, if we take the time to find out. Do you have a favorite contact you’ve learned from?
LiteraryCO was formed with the purpose of bringing together Colorado authors, book bloggers, readers, and writers in support and celebration of our state’s literary works.
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