Many years ago my mother bought a book in an airport. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I seem to recall it being one of those times when a flight was delayed for three hours.
For years, she tried to get me interested in reading this book. It was called Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. But the premise of a time-travelling love affair didn’t quite grab the teenage me. I’m not entirely sure why, probably some form of teen rebellion because my mother loved it so much. Real little trouble maker, me.
I remember trying to read it at one point, but I was never really able to get into it. If I change my mind, I know where it is. It’s always on her bedside table.
Now it’s on Netflix as Outlander. Ever since it came out she’s talked about it and I’ve promised to watch it. Finally, this weekend, she forced me to sit down with her and pay attention.
I did enjoy it. I’ve kept watching it.
But it got me thinking about readers. About how some books can stay with a reader for years. About how a reader can envision the characters you create and bring them to life in their imagination. About how attached we can become to the books we treasure. We keep them with us through the bad times and the good. They offer familiarity and comfort. They inspire us, move us, make us laugh, make us cry.
The books we truly love become a part of who we are.
That’s what we dream of as writers. That one day one of our books will mean that much to someone that they always know where it is. That it will become a book they turn to for comfort, inspiration.
I know I’ll never write that book for my mother, because in everything I write she immediately sees me.
But I’d love to write that special book for someone else.