Come, let’s dream a little.
We all – especially those of us who are active bloggers – have a book inside us. We harbour dreams of one day finishing it, of perhaps even publishing it. Some of us are working on it, most of us are just thinking about it. But very few of us come out and speak about the books that we wish to write. There may be many reasons for this, but the main one, I think, is because it will make us look foolish in front of others. What if I make a proclamation today and fail to honour it tomorrow? Won’t the naysayers call me out? Won’t I be known as a foolish dreamer who cannot be trusted to act?
You probably will. But for a moment, just for a moment, forget them. Imagine a scenario where you’re independently wealthy, with four or five hours of free time per day. (Big fat lie, I know, but humour me for a minute.) You have no pesky distractions like family, friends, the internet, your cat, and household chores. You live in a quiet place which is neither too hot nor too cold, with nothing but your pen and a book of white sheets for company. (You want a computer? Fine. But no games!) In short, all the reasons that are currently preventing you from writing your book aren’t there any more.
Now, if I were to grant you three months of this, what book will you write?
At the end of the three months, your normal life will resume, so this is your one short window to write that one book that has been festering inside you your whole life, the one opportunity you have to record your thoughts, whip up some magic, tell some stories that people will remember you by – hopefully with fondness.
What will it be about?
My own answer is that I want to write a haunted-house novel concerning a doctor’s family set in the late 1970’s. It is loosely based on my paternal grandfather’s life when my father was a youth of eighteen, during which a few incidents happened close on the heels of one another, one of which was my grandfather’s death. The specter of darkness seemed to loom closely over the family those two or three years, and is the topic of many dinner-table conversations at reunions. At the very least, therefore, my immediate relatives will read that story with interest.
What interests me about this exercise is that as soon as I placed myself under the condition that this was going to be my last book, my focus shifted immediately to writing for family. We all have a deep wish, I think, to be remembered, and to hand down something of a memoir to our descendants. Do you feel the same way? Is that part of the allure of being an author, to be remembered well past our deaths?
Tell me what you think.
Image courtesy: Deviant Art