My goal for today was to accomplish a lot of things on my “to do” list, but instead I pulled out a dog-eared favorite book of mine. I have a stack of these — okay, a whole shelf — of books that I’ve kept with me from move to move. This particular book was The Daughters of Cameron by Aleen Malcolm. It was released way back in 1983, and I bought it second-hand in a used bookstore more than a decade later. I think it’s the last book in a trilogy, but I’ve never sought out the other books. I don’t know if I could even find them now.
The book’s spine is creased, the pages are yellow, and the storyline is definitely outdated. It’s a historical and something that I’d never write. The funny thing is that I don’t believe I’ve ever really read the book. I skim it until I get to the part that I absolutely love — the romance between the damaged characters of Rue and Quin. (Oh, they make my heart squeeze.) Then, I read… and the rest of the world goes away.
There’s something like that in each of the books on that shelf — something that grabbed me. To this day, I can vividly remember scenes from each of those books and the feelings that they generated. It’s scenes like that which I try to create in my own work. I want to write books that people will keep in their bedside tables long after they’ve been read. I want people to use up storage space on their e-readers just so one day they might go back to read a story or even just one scene again. Because that’s when a book becomes a favorite. Not when you first read it, but when you keep it and read it over and over again.
So I might have wasted the day in some people’s opinion, but I was struggling with my own work-in-progress. Now I feel inspired. That’s what favorite things do.