There are few things that are more intimate than reading a book - like sharing a toothbrush or double dipping chicken wings. (Why? What were you thinking?)
From the moment we read the first word, we turn the key to the door of someone else’s mind and step through. For the first few paragraphs, we tread slowly, careful not to bump into furniture. After a while, we begin to relax and explore more freely, running our fingers across tabletops and picking up interesting objects from the mantle for closer inspection. Before we know it, we’re entering bedrooms and rifling through drawers. Then, something extraordinary happens: the space becomes ours.
Each word in the book passes through the prism of our experience to be colored by memory and bias. “The happiest thought she had ever had,” becomes a unique composite of lavender and vanilla perfume, a plate of warm fudge brownies, and the Glee episode where the football team shimmied to Beyoncé.
And as this transition from intention to imagination takes place, characters take their first real breath outside the author’s head and wander into ours. They walk through the world we’ve created for them, compliment what we’ve done with the place, and make themselves comfortable. Some stay for the length of time we’re curled in bed with their stories and a cup of tea. Others, whether we like it or not, never leave. They become a part of us, as real as anyone we’ve ever met.
I’ve invited a few of the characters from BEFORE EVER AFTER to come by The Slight Detour this week. I hope you can stop by and meet them. You don’t have to dress up. It won’t be anything fancy – just maybe some drinks and chicken wings.