A definite perquisite of being a published writer, is that on occasion, you get a crack at reading a book that is on its way toward being published but is, as yet, not in print. I don’t know why it is quite so much fun to curl up with a book that isn’t yet available to the general public, but it is. Maybe it is simply the feeling that one has a key to a room or building that is locked to most others, but into which you may freely roam. Or, maybe it is like the stock image from ads and T.V. shows and movies of people waiting in line to get into the club or restaurant or attraction of their choice, and the limo pulls up and out steps someone who is simply waved on in. We all want to be that guy, right?
Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but it is enjoyable to read the work of others and be given a chance to comment on it before it even goes to press. Last year, I was privileged to read Wayne Thomas Batson’s Isle of Swords before it was released, and I thought it was a fast-paced, entertaining, action/adventure story. Right now, I’m reading a book by Bryan Davis called Beyond the Reflection’s Edge which is planned for release in May. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve read about two thirds of it and I’m far enough in to say, that it is also a fast-paced, entertaining, action/adventure story. Though the two books are very different, the one being set in an age of pirates, and the other being a little more sci fi in nature than fantasy, I’d say, they do share the common element of leaping into action and roaring right along from one predicament to the next. (You can check out both these writers through their links in my sidebar.)
At any rate, beyond simply saying that I’ve enjoyed this special glimpse into the stories of my fellow writers, I wanted to say one more thing. Neither book contains a story that I would ever be likely to write. This isn’t a knock on them. Quite the contrary, it is an admission that of all the story ideas I’ve conceived over the years, none have ever been anything like these. My point here, is that human creativity is so remarkable that sometimes it moves me to wonder. Have you ever thought about how it is that with only so many sounds & notes in the world, new songs keep getting written? The capacity to keep inventing despite the finite resources afforded us is, to me at least, nothing short of astonishing. Likewise with stories. In one sense, there are only so many themes and plots and characters to choose from. Only so many archetypes out there. And yet, stories that are sufficiently varied and new and interesting keep emerging to entertain and delight. To me, this is additional testament to the grandeur of God’s creativity. He made a world that is rich with possibility, and He has made us creative, which is a very, very good thing. I would never have written these books, but I’m glad that someone else did.
I think that when we’re young, we presumptively believe that our own artistic interests and tastes are superior to everyone else’s. I teach teenagers, and one generality that is frequently true of them, is that they scorn music that isn’t their own. It isn’t always true, just usually. I was that way, for sure. But as I’ve grown, I’ve come to see that there is a broader creative world to be appreciated. I don’t necessarily “appreciate” all of it yet, and I may not, but I’m glad it is varied.
Of that, I am certain.