Tuesday, March 3, 2009
A Good Story
I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me. I joined a book club a little over a year ago and had found myself skimming so many of the books that we were reading. Then the other day I got my good friend, River Jordan’s new book Saints in Limbo in the mail for an endorsement. I opened up the pages and began to realize that it wasn’t me! I just hadn’t read a good story in a while. Every word captivated me. I didn’t want to miss one of them. Because each one held in it an emotion, an experience, a story.
A couple weeks after that I got another advance copy in the mail by another one of my good friends Nicole Seitz, her new book, One Hundred Years of Happiness. Once again, I didn’t miss a word. I just put the final touches on my endorsement for another friend, Rene Gutteridge’s new book, Never the Bride. And once again I read every word.
Granted they are all my friends, but trust me, I don’t read every word even of some of my best friends books. And the other beautiful thing is that these books were all very different stylistically. From Literary Fiction, like Rivers, to contemporary Southern Fiction, like Nicole, to chicklit like Renee’s. But it was the power of the story that was captivating. The ability to take me, the reader, to a place worth going and touching my emotions along the way.
From the time I was little I loved the power of a story. The ability to take people to places they’ve never been, places they’re hearts long to go, and teach them things their hearts are hungry for. My first book offering wasn’t fiction. It was non-fiction. I wanted to write books that changed people’s lives. But no publisher wanted to publish it. No, it was the first fiction book that I had ever written about a rigged beauty pageant, where women taped their boobs and sprayed their butts. That was going to be my offering to the literary world. It was a bitter-sweet moment for me. I wanted to write books that challenged people’s lives, touched their hearts and reached them in their deep places.
I’ve realized over the years that fiction can do the same thing. As I mopped up tears after reading each one of my friend’s stories and as I belly laughed until the bed shook, I realized the real power and privilege we as story-tellers have. Some take advantage of that. Others, well…there are others. People walk into a bookstore and are about to give us as authors two of their most priceless commodities. And two commodities that once spent can never be retrieved, their money and their time. May we be good stewards of both. And good stewards of the stories that lie in the soul of each of us…
Denise makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee with Sophie and Maggie, where they take long walks and read good books. She enjoys coca-cola and every now and then writes a few books.
www.denisehildreth.typepad.com "Flying Solo" A blog for singles