I have confessed to being an audiobookaholic. I don’t go to meetings, but I probably should. My very long days make it hard to find time to read, so I pursue my passion for the written word by the only other means possible. I listen in my car on my way to work, I listen while cleaning my house – it takes my mind off my misery- and I am always planning my next download. It is my biggest guilty pleasure. It even surpasses hot cocoa in the winter and ice cream in the summer.
The biggest drawback is that I can’t fold down the corner of a page – sacrilege to some, I know -and I can’t underline – again, sacrilege. So there are times when I simply must hit the pause button to ponder the author’s perfect use of a phrase, just the right word in a line or a thought that stops me in my tracks.
It is in these moments that my heart yearns to be better at my craft. I long to be the one who makes people stop for a moment in their busy lives. I want to create the image in their minds that no movie could come close to creating. I want to touch a heart.
My closest moment, and it is probably as close as I will ever get, came last spring. My daughter was stationed overseas for the Air Force. She was stationed in a country where going off base was very dangerous. There wasn’t much to do on their down time but read. Yes, I know, that really isn’t such a bad thing. The problem was that she found it hard to keep herself in books. She quickly read through the four she brought with her. Everyone else was having the same issue, so they began sharing books. One afternoon, a female soldier came up to her and handed her a book.
“Here,” the woman said, “I just finished this great mystery. You’ll love this book.”
My daughter looked down at the book and smiled. “I already read it. My mother wrote it.”
The woman had no idea of the relationship because my daughter is married. The last name on her tag is different from mine. It turns out that my daughter’s friend and neighbor bought my book and brought it overseas with her for her tour of duty and left it on base for others to read. Jennie called me and was ecstatic to report that my book was making the rounds on base and people were really loving it. I mentioned this online and a few other authors sent me books to send overseas. This thrilled me beyond words. I already sent my daughter 70 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, but this was better. I was sending entertainment that had the ability to take them to other places where war wasn’t. It was entertainment that could make them smile. It was entertainment that could be shared over and over and over until the pages crumbled with age. Cookies are great, but the thrill is gone once they are eaten, DVDs can warp and scratch, and music downloads leave with the device. Books live on to thrill another day.
I may never stop someone in their tracks with a very deep thought, but I can make people laugh and make them eager to turn the next page. I can take them away from their troubles. Every author’s work can live on to thrill another day.