My thirst, my passion, was for the magic of my words to swallow my readers into the worlds that swallow me. It seemed impossible even to capture one reader. The magic in reading doesn’t lie within the words of the author. It lies in the imagination of the reader. How then could I ever hope to take someone with me, to get them to imagine as I did?
Imagination is an endless sea, full of eddies and currents. To cross it, you must submit to it. The most carefully charted plot can’t lead others where it led you. They don’t swim the same sea. So I wrote in vain. Tales of places so familiar I was sure I had been there. Memories so real, I was sure I’d lived them. Conversations so dear, I fell in love with the people I shared them with. And my whole life I knew, not one person would know what I had known. The ominous undertow of their own imagination would pull them under before they ever had a chance.
All the years of my life, I wrote. Novel after novel, I shared the amazing people I become when I travel. As each of my stories was finished, I found more true, that the reader whose mind I must capture sits at a desk, inundated with the tiresome imaginations of writers. These poor souls, called publishers, swim in a sea so shallow only the greatest magic can swallow them up. And the vanity of my writing was compounded. Novel after novel, I shared my rejected manuscripts with their lonely predecessors, to write in vain once more.
Then I had it. The Revelation. There was one sea that could not steal my reader from me. There was one reader I could write for, who would follow faithfully every word I wrote, with the freedom and passion of the spirit in which I wrote it. With renewed enthusiasm, I poured out a whole world of imagination in one endless sea. I wrote of one amazing girl who crossed it. And when I was done, I picked up my book and I began to read.
I smiled as I read. The water licked kindly at my ankles begging me to plunge deeper and deeper into the story. The Sea of Imagination rose gently around me as I read. I felt her eddies and her currents pulling me and I submitted to them with joy. As I felt her swallow me once and for all into the final world I had written, I knew I had not written in vain.
© 2012 Anne Schilde