A few weeks ago, I took a few weeks off from writing to do something I haven’t done in quite some time.
I read a book.
Not a blog. Not fanfiction online. Not an eBook.
But an actual book: a shiny, hard-copy of a novel with tangible pages printed with black ink.
And I know eBooks are books too, so please don’t misunderstand me. But I didn’t grow up in the digital era, and as a reader, my heart prefers the book I can touch to the one on a touchscreen.
(Though as an author, I look forward to seeing my name on both)
Anyway, I read not only a novel but a memoir as well. And I relished them both. They somehow knew what I needed and satisfied my soul in a most delicious way. I could not wait to tell you about the insights and life-changing nuggets I derived from them.
But I did wait.
And wait and wait and wait.
And now I have a problem.
You know, that magic we experience when we finish a book, that celestial siesta where we idle between the known world and the world between the lines and spaces, where the last words reverberate within us, moving through our hearts like so many ripples on a pond, and we emerge from the twilight a different, better version of ourselves.
We crave that magic. That’s why we read and why those who write must write.
But if we don’t capture that feeling when it hits, if we don’t, for example, write the review of the book within days of finishing it, something terrible happens.
We lose something. Something we can never retrieve.
I tried to recapture the elusive “it” yesterday in preparation for this post, but my thoughts wouldn’t congeal and my enthusiasm was forced. The books are the same, the words are true as they ever were, but the winds have changed.
The spell has been broken.
Yes, I flipped through the pages again, noting favorite lines and passages. I read the book flap, hoping to trigger a memory of a scene that changed me. And I remember enough to write heartfelt reviews of both books, to gift their respective authors with the ultimate sign of respect and appreciation for their work. And I feel good about that.
But in my heart, deep down where the memory of those initial reactions resides, I know something is missing. I feel the absence of that intangible oomph I lost by neglecting to grab my journal or pull out a Post-It to pour out my heart where it could do some lasting good.
Let my mistake be a lesson to you. No matter what else might be happening, regardless of where your head might be or favorite pen might be, take a moment to capture the magic. For once it is gone, it is lost forever.