I live in a house full of writers- apparently. My elder sister is the proper author, and somehow it always seemed natural that she would write. Then my other sister also writes, but her main interest is painting. And even my brother wants to write- which I had no idea he wanted to take it up, because he usually seems haphazard about it.
Anyway, the reason why I’m bringing this up is that, at some point someone in my household will have a story that will need to be edited. That’s what siblings are for- the first step of editing. Somehow or other it’s never got to that point- or rather, I haven’t pushed enough to make any of my siblings take a look at my stories.
One of the reasons why no one’s really pushed to do editing is because that would be weird! When I think of editing one of my sister’s stories- someone I know and I’ve lived with a long time- I shudder. I know her writing is very good and deserves to be published and read, I just don’t like the idea of reading. And I got to wondering today why that is. The simple answer is that it would be strange reading something she’s written, and that brings up another question: Why that?
I figured out the answer pretty quickly. That is: reading my sister’s story will be like stepping into her head, into worlds that she’s invented. And reading something written by someone I know well- not just my siblings- would be like going into a world I might almost know but not well enough. It will be very confusing.
But it still makes a point I’ve never exactly thought of. I’ve mentioned before how one imagines worlds and creates galaxies and all that. But I’ve never imagined how reading a book really is like stepping into someone’s head and something that they’ve imagined. You’re going into a secret area of their mind that’s so unlike anything that you’re likely to experience- it won’t be like getting them to talk about something personal; stories are an invention, or hearing about something they dreamt about; that’s subconscious, or getting them to babble out whatever comes into their head; that’s silly.
It’s something that they’ve literally come up with that may or may not have any connection to their own life or thoughts, that will reveal perspectives you’ve never imagined possible, that may have started off from some simple observation or experience or interest, or maybe showing a whole new personality you never knew existed.
Reading a story, especially reading one of my sibling’s story, will be interesting- because stories show just how amazing the human brain and imagination is. One forgets how much is needed to keep you going, not just in the brain itself, but writing- or painting- kind of shows a small glimpse of how well one’s brain can work, even when the finished product isn’t as good as it could be.
This sort of invention, which I attribute to writing in this post but can apply for several other things- though not many- is delicate. Writing is delicate. It’s been thought out, started off from something small- or possibly only a glimpse of something big, and it’s had to go through trials of the heart and soul and body, following that- well, I’m sure anyone who’s a writer, especially published, will know what your story has had to go through to finally become what it is.
So, I guess what I am trying to say here is, I really appreciate writing and books and everything that goes into it. Sometimes you have to stop and realize just how amazing it is, and what it signifies, from the thing you see on the shelves to all the workings behind it, all the people who have put their lives into something they’ve invented, and to the writer, showing a strange chamber of their minds to the world.
What’s so funny about it is that, as a writer, I’m doing exactly what I’ve described. With all my stories, I’m penning down a very different side to my thinking. But you just don’t think about it. I love to write. I don’t think about how I’m allowing a small portion of my mind and imagination to be put down into chapters and characters.
I just do it because I like it. And I guess that’s the best and strangest thing about it.