Friday, May 16, 2014

My daughter hates my book

“Argh! I hate this!” It’s my daughter speaking.
My heart sinks. She’s reading my first novel. Surely, it’s not that bad. “Why?” I ask. Do I really want to hear the answer?
“It’s a great story, Mom. I’m totally into it and then, bam, I read a part and I see you. Jolts me right out of the book.”
Well, that makes sense, I guess, since this reader knows me so well. But I start to worry a bit when I hear similar comments from close friends. Oh, no, I think. I’ve done something terribly wrong.
Or have I? My daughter’s comment gets me thinking. If we knew the authors of the books we read, would we be saying the same thing? To what extent do authors reveal themselves in their fiction? Can authors completely distance themselves from their writing? Would we want them to?
Recently Jim Ainsworth wrote a piece on Venture Galleries ( about the importance of making connections with others. He quoted Professor and writer John Dufresne  who says, “A book should offer hope. It should lift up the reader. It should give the reader a reason to live—should he need one. Life is not easy for any of us, but the pain of loneliness is often unbearable. The writer is saying, among other things, ‘You’re not alone.’”
And what better way can a writer say, “You are not alone,” than by imbuing their stories with the strength and gift of their presence?

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