As a writer in the Montgomery, AL area, I find it amazing just how many independent bookstores, publishers, and organizations there are devoted to writers and writing. Publishers such as River City Publishing and NewSouth Books are excellent publishers with award-winning reputations. Capitol Book & News is a local, independent book store in Montgomery that offers wonderful books and cooperates with southern writers for signings and sales. NewSouth also has a book store and assists their authors with events. Finally, probably the best resource for writers in Alabama specifically is the Alabama Writers’ Forum. This organization offers information on contests, publishers, and events all around Alabama. The south is truly a haven for the written word!
Are there other worlds? Do other realities exist right next to us, but behind a curtain that hides them from us and through which we cannot reach? The scientific community has theorized about such dimensions for decades, but has been unable to substantiate these claims. As interesting as this idea might be, there is no evidence that alternate universes exist, have ever existed, or will ever exist. So, where does this idea really come from and why are people so into the idea?
Much of this hypothesis stems from the desire and need of cosmologists to formulate something like a Grand Unified Theory or Theory of Everything that will explain how our universe came to be and why it make sense. Ultimately, scientists need to explain this before they can get even close to explaining how life ever came to be, much less human beings.
Strangely enough, there is evidence of another realm of reality that exists alongside our own, but out of our reach. Here’s a historical account from the reign of Belshazzar, King of Babylon: King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Daniel 5:1-5
Here in this passage, we see a hand reaching out from another world to write a message to this king. The hand reaches out, as if from a rift in reality, to send a message to humanity. Yes, there is another world that we as corporeal beings cannot touch. It exists right behind the curtain and it is as real as this world we inhabit. Keep your mind and soul open to it and maybe you will experience this reality one day.
Unless you haven’t heard, not all writers write exactly the same. As obvious a statement as this may be, many people who read books might be under the assumption that writers always do things the same way. While one writer might have a very regimented schedule, another will write here and there. Some writers plan every jot and tittle in their storyline while others write organically without planning anything. However, the most common pattern you will see with writers, especially fiction writers, is the beginning to end strategy. This method basically begins with the end in mind, but doesn’t necessarily plan anything in between. While this style is more organic in concept, it also has a plan or goal for the writer to attain. If you write, give this method a shot sometime and see where it takes you.
With the relatively recent decline of print media, there has arisen the opinion that the book, as we experience it today, will soon die. While this might seem like a reasonable assumption, there are several reasons why this will never be.
First, the reading public is too smart to let the printed book die. This statement might seem counterintuitive based on the intelligence required t enter the digital media world in the first place, but let me explain. There are many different ways in which people manifest intelligent behavior. In fact, most people exhibit their ability to experience life through spatial experience. This spatial understanding is best felt through the holding, touching, and turning pages offered through reading a solid, tangible book. While digital methodology might offer a simulated book reading experience that satisfies the tangible benefits, it will never fulfill them. People are physically attached to books.
Another major reason the book will persist is its collectability. Sure, you can download digital books to your digital reader all day long and build up a collection to rival the Library of Congress. But, you can never take any of those books off the shelf and show them to someone. You can’t flip their pages and feel the binding. There is an inherent value in the bound, solid book that cannot be reproduced in any other format.
We can all identify with the last reason stated here: books are legacies and heirlooms of humanity. Look at your library sometime. Even if you’re not an avid reader, you no doubt have at least two or three books in your house that were given to you by someone you love. Your mother might have passed onto you a children’s book she read to you when you were young. Maybe a friend bought you a book for your birthday. There are any number of reasons those books are special to you. They are treasures of the mind and objects of the heart.
Enjoy your books. And don’t worry; they’ll always be there.
There are people, many of them, who die before their past. Many of us go through life reliving the hurts of years and decades past. Most of these hurts are from childhood and are things that cannot be changed. Yet, we cling to them as if they were things that determine who we are. This is simply not good for anyone. This link is to an article that deals with children who were bullied and grew up to externalize psychotic behavior. Most of the issues they have are from living in their past every day. If they could let the old person die, they can live a new life and be someone who outlasts the victim they were. Can you outlive your past?
What do you know about yourself? Do you know yourself at all? In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. The idea is that while someone might be a genius in one domain of intelligence, they might be a complete idiot in another. One of the domains of intelligence is intrapersonal intelligence. This area of human intelligence is the one responsible for you knowing yourself. People who know themselves well and understand how they perceive the world have high intrapersonal intelligence. These are the people who know why they tell the stories they tell and where they come from within their own mind. While someone might not have a deep intrapersonal understanding, there’s no reason to be upset about it. You can develop this area of intelligence by looking inside yourself and trying to discover the you, you never knew. Part of this process is facilitated by telling stories. The more you tell stories and think about how and why you tell them, the more likely you will be to understand where you began and where you’re going. So, take the time to spin a yarn and learn more about you!
As a reader, I see Dante’s seminal work as a commentary. As a writer, I see it as a pattern for modern allegory.