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Write and Publish Fiction
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A theory of Books Immersion...Views: 621
Oct 24, 2008 7:09 pmA theory of Books Immersion...#

Meredith Greene
Our house is quiet this evening; though it is often so, it has been unusually still at night this whole week. My oldest daughter, having found that Pride and Prejudice was a far better story in book form than any film version could possibly be, is sitting on the futon with her nose inside the final pages, her eyes moving with great rapidity. Faced with the rather unexpected discovery that reading can be fun, my son is on the rug with his school readers in a pile before him; every once in awhile he nods to himself, his little eyebrows in a knot of concentration. Behind him my husband is seated on his large chair, a newspaper open to the business section; the two littlest girls are asleep in their respective corners, one with her face plastered on a picture book page. I sit on my writing couch, with a stack of C. S. Forrester’s tomes by my elbow, looking up every once in awhile to admire the serenity; it floats about the room like drifts of autumn leaves on a perfumed zephyr.

Ever since I first began writing, it has been my firm belief that in order to write a god book one must read a wide selection of books before, during and after any particular project. The Editor and I are currently halfway through the second novel in the 'America' series, weaving a story about 1900s immigrant families using our own ancestors’ tales as an example.

Besides Forrester, on the table by my couch Shakespeare’s 'Henry the Fifth' is in the stack... to add a pinch of drama, political villainy and poetic speech. Jane Austen’s 'Persuasion 'also sits nearby for not only romance-tinges notions but speech sparkly with wit. Burroughs leans against Dumas on the table to hopefully impart some fine storytelling with edgy throes of action intermixed. The War of the Worlds sits in the back, silently reminding me with each glance that a writer cannot ignore tragedy, whether real or imagined.

How good it is to have a collection of authors at the elbow, readily available for reach and reading, for perusal and the occasional gleaning of ideas, along with slightly nagging criticisms flowing as a perpetual undercurrent; these remind me quietly, persistently, that the words a writer threads together can always be improved. As I read the famous passages I find myself admitting how inferior my novels are in comparison. Being humbled is healthy, however; it makes me want to click open the laptop and type furiously away, re-working my old material until it reaches another, higher level.

In an age of talking heads constantly speaking phrases like ‘self-assurance’ and ‘self-confidence’, it feels almost refreshing to read silent admonitions from authors long gone, to compare one’s work to theirs and find it wanting more attentions than previously supposed. In the back of my mind, I cannot help but wonder if these same writers did as I am doing, comparing themselves to the ancient masters of the pen, to poets and saga speakers whom could wind the word about the ear and feed the soul, all seemingly without effort. Did their admiration for aulde accomplishments spur them onward towards greatness? Indubitably, for here I am enjoying the fruit of their fevered, dedicated labors. Once again the book immersion has performed that which I hoped it would, for inspiration flows in like a tide… slow, steady and almost blissfully overwhelming.

Meredith Greene

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