If You Could Hide Within The Pages Of A Book….

I’ve often taken refuge within the pages of a book. During some of the darkest phases of my life I have galloped through the night, before gratefully clattering across the torchlit drawbridge and dismounting within a courtyard of words and chapters. On all four sides, paper walls have towered comfortingly around me, as impenetrable as stone and steel. I am safe, untouchable, alive.

As I near the completion of my first novel, I also near the year mark in its genesis and evolution. Yes, a year ago the name Kirkwood Scott popped into my head, swiftly followed by that of his nemesis, Augustus Skelly. Well, I say popped into, but truth be told they were always there, just waiting for the opportunity to step forward and formally introduce themselves to myself and the (still) waiting world.

These characters and their adventures have possessed me since then. I have been the conduit through which their stories have evolved. The process has been excruciating at times, but now here I stand on the cusp of recrossing the castle drawbridge and revealing my labours to the big, bad world. It’s a terrifying process and one I have very mixed feelings about.

Part of me is excited to see what happens. But a growing part of me dreads it. My skin is too soft to endure the inevitable criticism and rejection that will follow. Part of me just wants to shove the manuscript in a drawer; something to dig out for the grandchildren in years to come. I’ve done what I set out to achieve – I’ve written a book. The path from here seems too treacherous, too hilly, and utterly beyond my means.

Improbable. Impassable. Impenetrable. These are the words that sit heaviest on my tired shoulders. I sit with pen poised, about to sign terms of surrender as my enemy leers over my shoulder, rubbing its clawed hands in gleeful anticipation of my capitulation. But then I think. I think back to the times I have hidden within the pages of a book, concealed from the storms of life, battering me on all sides.

And I think, what if that book had never been written? What if the author had given up and hurled the manuscript into the fire? What if Tolkien, King, Lewis et al had never allowed their fantastic creations to see the light of day?Where would I be? Where would so many of us be? It doesn’t bear thinking about. I need the written work almost as badly as I need water and oxygen. Reading and writing are akin to life itself.

In today’s fast food, abbreviated, hyper linked world we still need books. 140 character tweets are not enough for me. I need substance, depth and texture. I desire to spend time within the comforting confines of well crafted, structured prose. I need to amble along verdant banks as its waters meander lazily through the meadows of my mind. I need time away from the million mile an hour car crash that we call life.

I know, from connecting with other bloggers, that I am not the only writer consumed by this aching need. We have sought sanctuary all our lives between the covers of a book. Now, we seek to carry on that tradition. To build new strongholds, towering about the mundane, featureless landscape of modern living. We are the architects who have taken the baton from our literary forefathers. We must build. We must create. We must offer respite.

Have you ever hidden within the pages of a book?

42 thoughts on “If You Could Hide Within The Pages Of A Book….

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      1. Really? How about when… okay, THAT’s probably not helpful.
        Plenty of writers who have jumped over that hurdle of publishing say that taking a break is a good idea -though keep reading and writing other things. Find why you wanted to write the story and why it matters to you so much to have worked on it for so long and why everyone NEEDS to read it!
        Here’s a good article I read; read the whole thing and you’ll feel like whining less: https://danalatorre.com/2018/09/26/interview-with-independent-author-dan-alatorre/
        (I still maintain that you should not self-publish your first book.)

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  1. Absolutely. I can think of 3 books that ‘saved’ me from being overwhelmed because of the real world. You have a gift – please don’t deny others the blessing of diving into YOUR book.

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  2. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book I was in the middle of reading. As a child who moved around a lot, books gave me the friends I hadn’t met yet in my new home. As I matured, books gave me the respite from the worries and stresses of the moment. Still do. When I get into a book, I live it vicariously. Good writers do that.

    Hiding inside of books is like breathing. I can’t survive without them. It’s my normal.

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  3. i’m pretty sure books saved me. they were a place to go when the world was too much, or i was too much with the world. your story sounds exactly like the kind of tale we need more of. i totally get the thin-skin fear of criticism, especially with something like a book, which contains bits and pieces of the soul, but i have faith in you.

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  4. My “office” is full of them – Everything from Young Adult, to Vintage Oz, to Paranormal Adventures, and mysteries. I don’t really trust people who don’t read – as odd as that sounds. It means to me that they are unable to change their perspective to follow someone else’s story.

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  5. Truth!!!! I think it is so comforting to linger back into the warm shadow of this is just for us. But I think many of us want to help others and we can only do that by stepping into the light. You have a story to tell!!! *looking forward to reading more!!!

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  6. I’ve been playing Hide and Not Go Seek (outer world, that is) in the leaves of books for 60-some odd years (and I mean odd). Books are my BFF’s (best friends forever). At this stage, however, I long for more discussion w/others over readings. That’s why I love our monthly Book Club. While I used to want to keep my BFF’s to myself, I find it much more fun to engage with others over novels, short stories, creative non-fiction and to bring things out in the light, not keep things locked up. (Now I need to find some peeps who like fairy tales).

    I found above threads re “not trusting those who don’t read” and your comment about feeling that way towards people who don’t do alcohol very funny. I can relate. Lately I have been questioning if I trust myself because I am a 12-stepper who only imbibes at celebrations but I avoid alcohol on daily basis — “am I a bore?” “why aren’t I more exciting?” — that type of thing. However, I also recall something Brendan Behan once said: “I am a drinker with writing problems.” Hard path. I like my liver and embrace its cleansing qualities.

    Keep on writing! When will you share name of your book (or did I miss some posts)? Are any excerpts available on-line to see?

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    1. Thank you. Great words. The book is titled ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles – Skelly’s Square’ and is nearing the end of its 4th edit. It is currently being reviewed by some beta readers. I usually post a weekly update on progress so feel free to check them out.

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  7. I’m constantly reading. Just such a happy escape to a different reality and room for imagination to flourish.

    I love Harry Potter, The Inheritance Cycle, All Souls Trilogy etc. Reading the Lord of the Rings was a journey I can’t repeat lol

    Interesting to read the book then see the film. The movie can either be a poor representative of the book or an excellent visual guide. But you have to keep in mind that words are endless…movies have a budget and a profit to make 😉

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      1. Seems like we do lol

        Anything that I can sink my teeth into and lose myself with is fantastic. As a result I tend to read the same books over and over whilst trying new things in between.

        Harry Potter, Inheritance Cycle and a few Michael Crichton novels keep my busy lol

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