I open a book and see the ink on the paper and I can feel it’s aliveness. I know that once I start to read the words, I enter into its world. It’s a different world than mine. But as I read, that world becomes mine.
I feel close to the author of this world because they are there in the book, open and vulnerable with their imagination. As the pages go by, my imagination begins to opens to theirs. It’s an incredibly intimate experience. At first it’s a little uncomfortable to me to be that open and close. I find myself thinking of not continuing with the book. But then I’m drawn back in and that relationship begins and goes deeper.
I mostly feel this connectedness to certain older pieces of literature. I just finished reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. He’s long dead, but not to me as I read.
I’m starting to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I’m feeling a similar affinity with Mark Twain.
It’s interesting because I tried reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy a few months back and I could never find the connection. I’m sure others have with the author and this book. But I felt distant and uninterested. It feels like starting a book is going out on date and discovering if there is any attraction.
My experience of writing is also intimate. My heart and mind are wide open. It’s interesting to me because I feel a connection with the reader as I’m writing. Even though it hasn’t been published at that moment. The reader feels ethereally present with me. It’s a powerful vulnerability. I feel it now as I write this. I think that’s why I love writing so much.