15 Feb Struggling To Find The Author That’s Right For You?
Reading a book is much like reading a person’s thoughts. You’re relying on an author to curate their secrets, then spell them out for you.
But whether or not you flip through each page of their story depends on how the writer connects with specifically you, and you alone.
The same sentiment could be said about how you choose your friends.
Looking for someone who transcribes engaging streams of consciousness is like looking for a friend who you can listen to without talking for long periods of time. We all know how challenging it is for most of us to find a friend that fits such a description.
I hate to sound sappy but finding the right author, with the right story, at the right time takes work, and luck.
If it’s believed that we are hedonists by nature, that we are chasing things that make us feel good, then it’s possible that we might find things that make us feel good in safe spaces that bring us pleasure.
When you’re seeking a friend, you keep your eyes peeled for a face – a book cover in this scenario – one you’ll enjoy sharing time with, among the many other colorful ones that show their best first impression in public. You look them up and down and you ask yourself, “Could I be seen walking around with this next to me? Could I hug it tight in troubling times because it understands me?”
You have one special job when it comes to picking your next read, it’s to choose a story you can love. As a reader, you deserve nothing less.
Looking for the story you’re interested in isn’t easy either; it doesn’t always happen in one go. Like dating, locking down your next book title as they say, “It’s like a second job.”
You go to all the regular haunts to find that friendly face; the author staring back at you inside the book jacket.
You go to a café where people lean in face-to-face and trade secrets over a coffee table. You wish you could be a part of that conversation but you know time with people you love is precious so you don’t want to interrupt those few, magic moments.
Or, you go to a library where many books scream “Hey, my name is so and so. I like talking about aliens, or dragons, or snobby, late-19th-century-Russian-aristocrats.”
You might scroll through book reviews online and find that this type of ‘speed dating’ for an author isn’t your thing.
Searching for that reading companion, you might try something new, in a roomful of people – a book club. When all you really want to do is stay at home, have a book delivered to your door then snuggle in bed, with your beloved novel, alone.
Walking through a bookstore feels transactional. Money is involved, other people are trying to set you up with an author and there’s so much pressure to purchase.
Then there are uncanny moments when you find that book. You take home a ‘comfort food’ novel. You crack open a story you’re going to quote for the rest of your life.
Whenever you read it, you feel like you and the author could be friends, if only you had the chance to meet. You enter this phase with this story when you take it everywhere, you talk about it to others like its your new found friend and you’re experiencing new relationship energy. Your other friends might not get it. They might not care for your inside jokes that you share with the author. So, you isolate yourself. You stay up late reading their texts, when you should be sleeping, or eating, or tending to any other priority.
Their pages push you into nostalgic adventures from your childhood. They thrust you into events similar to the repressed horror stories of your past. And you feel yourself relating to this author, this person behind the words. But, eventually, you reach the final piece of the story you’ve fallen so hard for. You arrive at the last chapter, then you turn to the page where the story ends. It’s over. You sigh and think of all the good times you had together and your lust for a new collection of pages. You want more from the author, more reassuring words. But the story is done. It feels like you’ve been ghosted. And now, you have to wait for their next release to come out. You’ve got to anxiously wait for that next invitation from the author to venture into the darkest corners of their mind.
Well, this is me reaching out to you as a potential friend.
A few of these stories within our podcast, I’ve shared with writing groups.
A couple of them, I am sharing with you for the first time.
They’re full of my secrets and I want to share them with you.
I don’t expect you to fall in love with the stories I share here as I did. Sometimes I struggle to enjoy them for what they are at times. No friendship is perfect. Even the one with yourself.
So, as Randy Newman once sang, “You’ve got a friend in me.” But if you don’t want to hear my secrets, I still encourage you to find an author who you can connect with.
Grab that novel, magazine, audiobook, internet article, whatever, and hold it close, long into the night. Pour over the author’s intimate personal life details – whether they’re hidden in fiction or out in the open with non-fiction – share moments that make you feel, and inspire you to read until an ungodly hour.
Josh Ackermann escapes his desk job by writing in his free time. One of his short stories, One Helluva Headache, was published in the English Bay Review. He’s currently revising two of his first novels. And he’s is the creator of the Falling For Stories podcast; among many other titles.