Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Whisper From The Past

Author/Artist Unknown
Ever find yourself sitting alone (reading of course), letting go of your reality while losing yourself in someone else's fantasy?  Sure you have.  We all have at some point in our lives.  Whether as children being read a Dr. Seuss' book or in middle school reading about young sleuths figuring out the mystery of a neighborhood cat gone missing.  Or as young adults discovering worlds beyond our circle of family and friends.  And, as adults with eclectic tastes in books that can still include those from our childhood.

I find there are still remnants of all the books I've read.  I may not remember the entire story from a book I read in middle grade, junior high or high school, but I can picture the hero in my head as I once visualized them back then.  I say back then because if I read the books today, I may not see them with a youth's eye, but with a jaded one from tons of books read since.  There are times when I find myself in a situation that seemed like deja vu, a slippery memory that I can't get a grasped on...a whisper from the past.  And it can be from either my actual past, or from a past reading.

I believe I have multiple personalities.  All of them authors from books I've read.  Driving home during traffic hour, my Stephen King comes out, plotting demises for the idiot who can't keep up with the speed limit or the dumb-ass who can't stay off my bumper trying to pass me.  If I'm with someone I barely know who goes on and on and on about something that dulls my brain, my Ken Kesey will emerge with Nurse Rached quietly waiting in the back ground to perform a lobotomy.  Quiet whispering of imaginative solutions to the everyday humdrum.

Wow...I have issues.

But not all my personalities are those of the dark and insane (and I say that while fighting the urge to give into my Cheetos craving).  There's Jane Austin, Alexander Dumas, Nathaniel Hawthorne (if you haven't read The Scarlet letter, you should...Hester breaks the rules and lives with consequences that not only make her a pariah in her community, but becomes the epitome of a woman who endures and continue to endure ostracization because of the result of an adulterous affair.  It is such a good read).  And those are just a few that come to mind, including Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher (so love him).  And lets not forget Dr. Seuss (I had to a school project based on one of his books in drama...aced it!)

Stories can be told in many ways; in front of a camp fire, in movies or TV series, radio, gossip at the water cooler, in any format you can think of.  For me, books are my preferred medium in seeking, finding and getting lost in a story.  I want to imagine the hero based on his description to be the one I conjured in my head during the entire book, the same for the heroine.  I want to see the monsters the way they were terrifyingly drawn with words between the pages as I would imagine them to be.  I want to see a world created in my mind's eye as I cringe with fear or explode with awe and wonder formed by strings of words that bring them to life for me.

Don't get me wrong.  To see books on film is an amazing thing, and we do want someone to bring our beloved stories to life on the screen.  But for me, from that point forward all thoughts and imagery of the story will be in the form of the director's vision, not mine.  And we're all guilty of comparing the written version to the one on  screen.  Most times we regret seeing the movie, but once in a great while...they get it right, if not better.

What of you?  Any personalities based on authors from books read in the past?  Or better yet, characters from some of your favorite books?  Oh, in that case I have so, so many...and they all whisper in my ear when I find myself in situations similar to their own.

I just wish they wouldn't do it all at the same time.  ;)

Until next time, good reading to all!