Forgetting the Writer and Living the Story

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

–This was my aunt’s typewriter that is now mine and has an honored spot in my office. My aunt took a secretarial course at one time and enjoyed learning to type and do shorthand. She was like a granny to me and my sisters and I especially always had fun going to her house and getting to type on her typewriter. Perhaps that’s where the initial seed to someday be a writer got planted in my head. Of course I thought it would be fun to be a secretary and take down dictation with all those little squiggly marks, too. But I didn’t just think it would be fun to be a writer. I knew I was going to write. Being read was optional. Something I was definitely going to shoot for, but first came the writing. I’m thankful for readers now. Very! It’s great fun to write stories that other people bring to life in their imaginations.
–I got a nice compliment from a reader the other day. Since I have always lived in this rural small town area, I can get some interesting comments on my writing from people who have known me all my life. The local folk don’t quite know how to take me as a writer. A lot of them feel like writers should be somebody off somewhere living the good life and not a farm girl out walking her dogs or picking beans or buying groceries or whatever. I understand completely. Writers should be glamorous and mysterious. I always thought that too. That’s why it took me years after I had some books published to be able to say right out loud that I am a writer. I’m not glamorous or mysterious. (Oh dear! Now I’ve blown my cover for all of you who don’t live in my hometown and were thinking I might be either glamorous or mysterious. If I have to pick one, I’m going for the mysterious. LOL)
–Anyway, this local lady has known me for a long time. We had kids going to school together back when. But she reads a lot and has been kind enough to read my books. I am so blessed to have reading friends. To get to my point – finally – she told me the other day that when she reads my books she forgets that I’m the writer. She wasn’t sure how I was going to take that, but it was definitely a compliment. I don’t want any of my readers to think about who’s writing the story while they’re reading it. I want them to be so caught up in the lives of my characters that they don’t even notice the words. I want the story to be going straight through their eyes and playing on the big screen in their imaginations. That is, after all, the magic and fun of reading. Having the story come to life in your head until you start wondering what happens to the characters after you come to the last word on the last page.
–Now if you want to think about me being the writer then as you’re closing the book, that’s okay. Especially if you’re wondering if I’ve written any other books you might like to read. That’s good. But I understood what my reading friend meant. I’ve read books by writers I’ve met and sometimes you can’t keep from hearing that person’s voice all the way through the book. You can’t ever quite forget who wrote the book. That’s not always bad, but I think it’s better when the writer disappears and the story takes over. Don’t you?
–I hope all of you have a sunshiny kind of week. We had rain all week, so the sun looked really good when it came out today. And may you enjoy many stories on your imagination’s big screen.