Saturday, 16 March 2013
06:43:07 PM (GMT)
I want you to do something for me.
I want you to imagine a field. That's it. A field. It can be grassy, wastelanded,
or full of flowers, just picture a field.
Except you haven't done that, have you? Because right now, there's a picture of a
field in your head, but also the weather, time of day, your position in the field,
there might be a fence, there might be a beautiful view. And now, try as you might,
you cannot imagine just a field. Because why would you imagine a place just for the
sake of imagining it? No, you imagine a place so you can be a part of it. If you
wanted to see a field, you'd look at a picture, not create one in your mind.
Now I want you to place a building in the field. Castle, cottage, shack, abbey. It
can be anything you want, anything you desire, it's yours after all. In the whole
world, it's nearly guaranteed that no two places will be the same if they're
constructed in your head. It's incredible really, because even when you try to
describe your field to somebody, they still will only imagine their version of your
Words are strange things, after all. They are all read in the same manner. All
letters spell the word they are meant to spell, but everybody reads them differently.
Whether you skim-read, or take the time to produce voices and emotion, every person
will give these words, the ones I am typing right now, a different meaning. When I
read a book, it takes me forever; I have to form each character, feel their feeling,
hear their voices, and if I can't do that the book means nothing to me. When a
character falls in love, it has to be believable. When their heart is broken, I want
to be able to cry with them, be able to sympathise. I lack the capacity to do so
with humans, so the ones I create I truly believe in.
There's nothing in the world that frustrates me more than hearing the apparantly
simple yet careless words, "They're not real", because to me they're more real than
anybody I could ever meet in real life. I can never know what my friends are
feeling, or what they're thinking or how they react, but you can see every inch of a
character. You know their deepest fears and fondest heartaches and your feelings
transform with theirs. Fiction will always hurt me, but it's always there in another
form to comfort me. Harsh as a page may be, it can engulf me in its warmth and calm
me with its smell. It can tempt me with other worlds and permit me to care for
people I never would if they were real. Reading can take me far away, but will never
keep me longer than I wish to stay. I can never outstay my welcome, and I will never
be unwanted or shunned by people who won't take the time to care. But the characters
will only know me if I allow them. Sometimes I do, if I trust them enough not to
hurt me. My heart will only ever belong to the pages I spend so much time with,
because they are the only things who are always there when I need them. Whatever
mood I happen to be in, there is always one character who will sympathise with me,
and for that day, they will be my favourite. But again, my favourite will change
constantly. It's like being asked which of your best friends is the best. It's
unanswerable, and the moment you think you know the answer, you feel terrible for
neglecting the others and you add to the list.
Authors can write any combination of words on their page, and they will portray
something different to every reader. Some implant hidden meanings, others just tell
a tale, but whatever it is and whatever it means, it's pure genius, and nobody can
ever take the stories away once you've read them.