26 Little Letters
When children attend school and learn how to arrange twenty-six symbols into various combinations and decipher those arrangements into people, places and things, they are oblivious how it will elevate the possibilities of their entire life. A young mind, unaware of anything beyond the moment, only recognizes a vast world of wondrous imagination and engaging stories that it now can access. They care little that the arrangement of these symbols is what differentiates humans from all other mammals in the form of language, communication, freedom and liberation.
Though reading is needed to learn and teach, the true gift of words expands our minds with the ability to take us out of our everyday lives and transport us somewhere extraordinary that is much more than reality could ever grant us. Even as adults, when we read; we can be anyone, see anything, and travel across continents, dimensions, space and time. It's magical. It's a gift.
For me, writing fiction is an extension of that gift. I started writing not for the sake of writing, but to ensure the success of a business venture that required a large network of female prospects. It wasn't a romantic or exciting notion, in fact, insert an audible groan here.
Growing up, I read romance books ferociously because my parents lived ten miles from my middle school and I had a two hour bus ride to endure daily. It was either fight with the idiot boys or read about hot men. Hmmm... big decision.
I'd venture that all of that reading did as much, or more, for my vocabulary and language skills than any English class. As I devoured book after book, there was always a little niggling thought in the back of my mind; "I can write a book."
Only years later, I discovered my love of storytelling when it became a forced vehicle to expand my business network. It was like the angels sang in heaven; an amazing epiphany. Suddenly, I couldn't care less about my business and all I wanted to do was write and interact with my readers. Hearing that my story touched them was amazing! They lifted me up in ways that I could never have anticipated.
I've done my best to learn how to weave those twenty-six symbols together in ways that illicit lust, love, pain, heartbreak and joy... ways that allow my readers smell, touch, see and taste everything that my characters do in my mind. A true storyteller will do everything he or she can to pull you into the pages, put you in the characters shoes and let you live the story.
The point of this reflection is that every book ever written in the English language is just a different arrangement of those same twenty-six letters; transferring each individual author's thoughts to craft not just a plot, but emotions, characters and entire worlds. Twenty-six little letters!
It's spectacular, when you think about it... isn't it?