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Committing to a Book

Happy endings have their time and place. But in my opinion, few and far between... It drives me nuts when books and movies turn out exactly how I want and expect. I hate the satisfaction of being right when it comes to someone else’s story. I don’t want everything to work out in the end for the hero. And I don’t want the villain to get a fitting punishment! Where’s the fun in that? Life doesn’t work out that way, so why would a story? If there are no injustices left un-righted and no chaos left un-calmed, then I can’t relate to the story! I won’t find it captivating. I don’t want to be pacified and satisfied at every turn of a story. I want to be aggravated and invested and curious!

Writing and reading has always been an escape for me. An outlet from my own life where strained thoughts and anxieties, and my lists of to-dos and worries, can take a back seat for a while. I engage in a story on a deeper emotional level, I project my own feelings and experiences into the characters’ adventures and live vicariously through them. I sort out my own life through the lives of the characters on an almost subconscious level, much like dreaming. Because of that, I don’t like books that spell everything out for me. I don’t want to be spoon fed development. I want to explore it myself. I believe that a good story has a message for every reader... but that that message isn’t always the same. I want to bond with the characters, feel out the author’s style, but ultimately come to my own conclusions about who did what- why, and how the story might unfold if it were to continue for a few more chapters.

To give you an analogy, to me, an author is the playwright, the pages of a book are the stage on which the characters act, but the reader? The reader is the true stage manager, the producer, the power behind the scenes. The reader hears the words the characters speak, reads between the lines to know how they feel, and visualizes every detail down to how light might dapple across the short fur of a horse being ridden into battle. The author may write the story, but it’s the reader who makes the story come to life.

To be honest, really it’s just that I want there to be association, relatability, and continuity within a story but also enough gaps, guesses, and suspicions to keep me hooked. I don’t want to be able to lackadaisically flip through a few pages here and there. I want to commit to a book. Sit down and read it. Right now. I want it to demand my attention. To move. To madden. To relight a reader’s imagination! That to me is a thousand times more entertaining than princes and princesses living happily ever after.

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