“I’m so thrilled you wrote a book!” she says to me. “Do you remember how you used to read me your stories every day on the bus?”
Actually, I had forgotten. But suddenly it seems important.
“You always had a notebook in your hand, and you left spaces in between the lines in case you wanted to add more.”
She’s known me since childhood, and the rush of her enthusiasm has brought the little girl back to me whole, tousle-haired and slumped with her knees against the seat in front of her, a pencil eraser propped between her teeth.
I actually love that version of me; thank God she’s still here.
She is, you see, a writer – and I had almost lost her in the throes of trying to become an author.
Writers write. Much the same as “humans breathe.” It is an instinctual response, vital to existence. They write at kitchen tables, in bedrooms, on buses. During blizzards and heat waves, after house fires, before baptisms, during first dates. They can’t help it – they have to get story onto paper. Capture the emotion, freeze frame life. All of it.
Authors. Well, authors publish. They network, promote, sign books. They hire professional photographers to snap their photo and publishers to place it just so on the back of their novel cover. Authors edit mercilessly the writer’s dream words and then they join critique groups who help them to slice away even more. In a nutshell, authors boil the craft of writing into business, which is all well and good, and absolutely essential.
As long as the author doesn’t bury the writer.
Because the writer is susceptible to crushing injuries, and tends to crack beneath the weight of the author’s demands. Remember, she doesn’t write for money or recognition. She writes because she loves her craft - actually not so far removed from the little girl who cried when an incautious sibling left her notebook in the tree house during a thunderstorm.
To my bus buddy, I write on the inside cover of my very first real published novel. Thanks for helping me to remember. <3 Lucy Crowe