“We read to know we are not alone.” C.S. Lewis
For me, reading is best enjoyed in a solitary, quiet place, books are an invitation to personal interaction. Those bound, ink-covered pages are the author’s engraved invitation to join in a shared journey. The author is the guide. He knows where we are going, but so much of what we see along the way is left to my imagination.
The author sees the red-headed man in the checkered vest dealing cards, and the dark-haired schoolmarm scowling at him over the bat wings, then spins together words that describe his vision. When I read them, I see the man and the woman too. They don’t look exactly like the ones the author sees. I have conjured up my own people who look much like the author’s. They are my own, but they are fashioned on the author’s foundation.
It's ironic that I am willing to be led on this journey by a person who is a self-confessed liar. He not only has created this illusion we share but often deliberately distracts my attention from the truth. How my guide enjoys it when, like the old cartoon character, I proclaim Red Herring the perpetrator of the crime.
“You did that on purpose!
I mentally shout at the author who just laughs and points me to the next clue. It’s okay though. I agreed to go on this journey hoping the author will surprise me, make me laugh, make me cry, or scare me. The author isn’t just showing me sights and sounds, he is sharing his fears, pain, joy, and heartbreaks with me.
The Bible says that there is no temptation (experience) overtaken us but those that are common with human beings. This journey the author is taking me on is fictitious. However, he has not pulled it out of thin air. He has drawn it from himself. The story itself is an unspoken question. The author is asking “Have you been there too?”
By reading, I am assured that I have not faced life alone.