When I was little, my parents would read to me. Not such an unusual circumstance, I know. My mother read all of the classic books to me, specifically Dr. Seuss. She read to me fairly often in order to help get me to fall asleep at night. My father read to me as well, but it was a rare thing and a great treat for him to do so.
I don’t remember many of the books my father read to me save one: King Arthur. He had this old book with a worn cover and the ringed binding that books just aren’t made with anymore and, every once and a while, after much begging and pleading, he would read it to my brother and I. I remember not understanding all of it but that I knew enough words to get the gist of the story: the amazing adventure of Excalibur, Merlin, the round table, all of it. I loved it when my father would read to me because there was so much more for my young mind to feast upon.
Thinking about this makes me wonder what kind of books I will read to my children. Will I read them books beyond the usual children’s picture stories? Will I give their imaginations food to feast upon? My answer to that is, I hope so. I hope to read them books of daring adventure, impossible odds, and of good triumphing over evil. I even know what books I would like to read to them. I doubt that many of you know of the author David Eddings, but let me assure you that his books are full of adventure nearly the equivalent of that of King Arthur.
As a writer, I also have to look at this from another view. If/when I write a book, will it be the kind that people will read to their children? Will it have enough of a story, enough of an adventure, to be worthy of a child’s mind? I personally still crave stories of King Arthur and I find his story to be absolutely fascinating. After all, once a story is introduced to a child’s mind, it never fades but only has the potential to grow.
I want to write great books akin to that of not only David Eddings and whoever wrote in that tome about King Arthur that my father read to me, but also Tolkien or even Paolini. All of these great authors told adventure stories with twists, hidden depths, and the ultimate triumph of good, but at no point is the reader able to discern what will happen next. That is what every writer aspires to do: to have their story be unpredictable and worthy to be placed alongside great authors.
When I sit down to write, I often have to stop thinking about this, though. It is too much pressure on me to hope for my story to be as great as theirs. Instead, I find myself relinquishing my mind to my imagination and letting all thoughts of any stories I have previously read flow out of me as if they have never existed. That way me greatest potential is released and the words that I place onto the paper are the best I can possible place.
I can only hope that, one day, a parent will sit their child down with my book and say, “This, my child, is a grand story. One full of adventure, triumph, happiness and sadness, laughter, and an epic struggle between good and evil.” And then, the greatest praise of all, will be when that child grows into an adult, picks up my book once more, and, upon reading it to their child, reminisces on memories long past. I think that will be the point when I feel that I have accomplished a great work, for I have created a story that has stayed with a person throughout the stages of their life.