“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
– Carl Sagan
By: William G. Muir
Before I get started I just have to say whenever I read this quote, or any of Carl Sagan’s others writing I always hear Carl saying it in my head. I know that we all from time to time will hear the voice of an author, if we know know what they sound, like in our head. But Carl Sagan had a very distinct way of talking. His was a calm voice that rolled along on its cadence. It was the kind of voice that you remember long after you heard it. Which I believe that is what made him such a great educator.
I, like many, miss you Carl, you left us to soon.
Now on to our feature presentation.
So many of us know what it is like to open a book and to be whisked away to a far off, or not so far off destination. A new book is a doorway to worlds none of us have ever set foot. While older books are familiar friends that we visit with from time to time. Books are the glue that holds the past and the present together. With the future being just a page flip away.
What many people will never know is what it is like to write a book. But I do. Michala and I, after many long months of back and forth discussions, outlining, and long nights of pounding away at the keyboard, have a finished manuscript. One that we are now looking to sell to a publisher.
With all the hard we have done, we have transformed from mere consumers of the written word. We are now the fabricators of fiction. Like the bard of old that traveled the land so they could enthrall new audiences with their fables, we are now ourselves storytellers. We have committed to paper our tales for the modern generation to devour.
I would like to think that maybe a hundred, perhaps two hundred years from now some youth will comes across Michala and my novels in a second hand shop. Seeing how books will be a curiosity in our digital future, she will be oddly fascinated by her discovery and will cautiously reach her had out to take the book. Once the book is in her hand she will flip through the pages trying to figure out the relic that she is holding.
The shopkeeper will approacher her, causing her to jump. He will warn her that books shouldn’t be taken lightly, that they contain a power beyond those she has ever encountered before. That unlike her digital tomes, an old fashion book is magical. Each page is a portal into realms that will defy her ever expectation.
She will take the book and head on home. Once there she will sit down on her bed, fix the pillows so they support her back and turn to the first page. There she will notice the title of the book, and Michala and my names. She will wonder what kind people we were. Sure she could call up our holographic bios and listen to a recording of us describing ourselves. But she is smart enough to know that is only a tiny glimpse into who we really were.
No! What she wants is to know who we really were, not who we said we were. What kind of things did we like, what kind of foods did we love, what kind of music did we listen to, and did we laugh when butterflies landed on bald men’s heads. She will want to know what it was like for the two of us to write together, and just how we became a writing team. She will also want to know why we chose to name our book, The One Hundred Silly Dreams Of Flying Machines.
She will begin to read our book and make an important discovery. With each words she reads, the more she begins to understand who Michala and I really are. That not only is a book a door that opens to world of unknown splendor. She will come to see that each page is window into the writers’ souls. The turning of another page is another beat of our hearts.
Books are not products of, but in reality they are the writer’s blood, sweet and tears.
Books are magical, not only for those that read them, but for the people that write them as well. It is our way of reaching out and having a relationship with those people that we will never know. It is the most intimate, the most vulnerable that you can br with another person without ever touching them. We are bearing our very souls to you the readers, hoping that you will accept that which we have to offer.
Yet books are more than that, they are the writers attempt at immortality. Long after Michala and I have made our exist from this world our writings will still be here. And if we are lucky a thousand years from now, two thousands years from now, in what ever form the media is in, our books will still be around. Maybe if we are really lucky one or two them will be on the summer reading list for some kid living on Mars.