Monday, February 8, 2010

The Receiving End

Every once in a while you stumble on just the right type of book. It speaks to you and hits the spot. You find yourself unable to put the book down, page-turning as if you are about to uncover the secret to yourself. Devouring the book with you heart and soul, you will just not rest until you have reached the grand finale. When you do, it is a satisfying review of the work and the writer.

I have been looking for such a book for a while now. It was always a case of a grudgingly slow beginning. The act of getting through a page was painful in itself. Yet you persist and tell yourself that it will get better, and so, you trudge through one painstaking page after another, until you can handle it no more. You find yourself putting the book down and reminding yourself how reading is an exercise of pleasure; an adventure trip not  a root canal. Then there is the case of the flighty beginning that grasps your attention, and you start to get excited. You tell yourself that you have at long last found the right book, until a page, or two, or even a chapter later, when the capricious writer decides to succumb into a mundaneness. Suddenly you find yourself in a type A book; slow, monotonous and typically regimented in thought. Again, you put the book down with deep annoyance. Yes. It has been hard to find just that right book that maintains consistency from beginning to end. Respecting the reader in being able to speak and communicate with grace and poise through the channel called words on a page; telling a story and telling it well. It has been hard - until now!

I found her and I will call her my favourite writer of all time. I was sad to hear that she is no longer with us in this life and only regret that I had not chanced enough to engage more with her works beforehand. Carol Shields. A woman who can communicate. There is not piece of work I have read by her that has not failed to hold my full and complete attention throughout. I start a story knowing that I will not be disappointed now.  Guaranteed. She challenges my intellect and does not fuss around with unnecessary nuances. Oh the nuances are there but they are well-placed and well thought out. You come out of her books feeling like you have travelled and experienced a new horizon. A new story has been told where the facts are not as important as the way the story was told and the facts conveyed. Above all, she reaches out and speaks to me at a personal level. I understand completely where she writes from and can only imagine the excitement she must have got from writing her works.

It is all about reaching out to your reader. Making a connection and maintaining it throughout your work. It is about communicating and sharing something you strongly believe in or something that comes naturally to you. Once you have managed that, leave the rest to your audience to engage and communicate back. The receiving end is just as important if not more.

No comments:

Post a Comment