Storytelling in Aisle Five: ramblings
First the fetish. Then the answer to the question that plagues millions of women.
To you, I will openly admit this: I have a fetish. It’s a succulent, little fetish that sparks all the nerves in my body. It’s. Well, it’s a book fetish. There. I’ve finally said it. I love books. Absolutely adore them. Every time I enter a bookstore, I know that I will lose half my paycheck in there. Usually, anything with words makes me tingle: how to build a better resume, autobiographies, creative non-fiction, inspirational…but I’m particularly fond of fiction. I have books on shelves. Books in boxes. Books in closets. Books under the bed. Books at friends’ homes. People assume I’m well read. Thought-provoking. Well-rounded from all my books. Between you and me, I salivate over a good title and cover and will buy a book and maybe never read it. Time eludes me. Keeps me from reading every book I buy. But I still buy. It’s because of the words. It’s the words that make me walk over to a bookshelf and skim up and down the spines of books, wanting to open each of them and become ensconced in their secrets. Words.
Late at night, I like to turn off the lights in my bedroom. Slip into bed. Retrieve the book du jour from the nightstand. Grab the mini-flashlight that lies beside the book. Read in the dark. There is something so alive about being in the dark—with only you and the words. Physically, beyond you and the book, the world is nothing. Blank. A newly washed blackboard. Except for the one beam of light that filters from your flashlight. A beam that illuminates the book. Brings light to words. To your mind. Imagination.
You may not be able to see your hand about your face. Or the leg of that table you’re bound to snag a toe on when you head to the bathroom at three in the morning, sleep embedded into the corners of your eyes, but you can see—for example—Cheryl, a young woman whose family is on the verge of destruction. You see the tears that hold fast to her lashes, begging gravity to make them fall. You smell the pineapple lotion that Cheryl delicately rubs into her soft shoulders. You taste the rain that falls onto Cheryl’s face as she tilts her head up to the sky, welcoming nature’s cleansing. You hear the screams of Cheryl’s parents that stab through every wall of the house that Cheryl calls home. You feel Cheryl’s emotions. You become Cheryl. Or the antithesis of her. You love or hate her. But you feel something for her.
Sure, you can get the same thrill out of movies, TV, and radio, but think about it. With movies and TV, the images are given to you and for the most part, the five senses are spoon-fed into your psyche. Where is the imagination in that? Nowhere. Radio comes close to stories. A good song can be a story that elicits various emotions from the listener, but why listen to a song to get a story when you can read a story? Have your mind interact with the words. Bring life to the inanimate ink stains on the pages called letters that form words.
(more to come...later)