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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jan 19, 2018

A good book deserves a good cry

Sep 12, 2014

By Mary Zachmeyer

Here is a memory and free advice from a few years ago. Thought snow might cool you off a bit, these summer days.

Snow covers everything, even the neighbor’s deck. Only yesterday my golden retriever chased a rabbit under it. Now, a fantasy of white covers the deck. It is early morning and I cannot wait to get back to my book. But the dog comes first. Snow blocks the door. I push and shove, even use a broom and shovel to move the snow out of the way. At last, it is wide enough for puppy to squeeze through.

Back inside, I cover up with layers of blankets and return to the novel that swirled in my dreams all night. The wind blows and I almost forget the dog. Finally, I relent to the dog and my growling stomach. There are things I must do, so I close the book as if saying goodbye to a friend.

Reluctantly, I venture out into the cold to scoop a path. That done, the book sits in my lap again. Tears fall as the last chapter closes on the life of the old German singer. I can’t believe I cry over a fictional character. Of course I have done it before, but thought I would outgrow it by now. I puff myself up by believing the writing so superior and that is why tears escaped into my world. A good book deserves a good cry. I want to write like this author, win awards as she does. (All these years later, I can’t recall the name of the book, but it was about a famous pianist.)

I crave to sit and write a novel that shadows my day. The characters would go to the grocery when I do, walk beside me in the woods, sit next to me on a bench. What my characters do blend into my day like cream blends into coffee. Are they possessed by the moon? The characters in a developing novel become so real to the writer that he/she knows if they are even allergic to strawberries. The writer has to decide if one of his characters dies in the story and he will feel great sadness at such a passing.

When I was a child, the only books in my room were fairy tales. I read them so many times, I practically knew them by heart. I wish there had been Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick and Little Women.

You know how brothers can be such teasers to their little sisters that she runs into her room and closes her door. What can she do in there for hours but read the same books over and over and straighten the same dresser drawers over and over? But that’s OK. It’s better than eating chocolate, I think. I do wonder about holding a kindle in your hands instead of a book. Is there anything more wonderful than turning an ancient page of a classical novel?

When I travel by plane, I take Emily Dickinson with me. Every few pages, her words grab my poetry muse and I write my own poems beside hers. What a feeling and some day, one of the kids will discover it. Pope John Paul’s book The Place Within, inspired me the same way.

Well, I think books come from heaven, whether you write it or read it. What an incredible feeling to take a blank page and put words on it that tell a story, make the reader laugh or cry, or just pass the time. I remember the first book I read that was set in a foreign country. I was there in Japan, I swear, with the perusal of each page. Let me end this week with a silly poem I wrote about reading, its characters, and my imagination.

Mad, Mad Make Believe

 

Take me away to a make believe place

where the fisherman’s wife gets mud in her face,

where Hansel and Gretel meet Snow White and tykes

who form a band called the Gingerbread Flakes.

 

Rapunzel and “Rumpel” have a spelling bee.

Thumbelina says, “They’re full of blue cheese!”

The emperor wears clothes, but no one else sees,

and the match girl wins the lottery,

 

where the ugly duckling kisses a frog

who falls asleep in the forest bog.

Oh, take me away for I am convinced,

a pea is a boulder and a frog is a prince.

 

Only two Mary’s Memos left. Thank you for your interest. Until….

mlzachmeyer@hotmail.com

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