In Case of Emergency: OPEN BOOK
My thoughts this week are rather short (like me) and perhaps bittersweet (like the best chocolate).
I’ve had a pretty terrible few weeks. Like the kind of weeks that make you crawl into bed and not get out, partly because you’re sick and can’t really be anywhere else, and partly because your brain has decided to take a vacation. (This isn’t a pity me post, because I’m on the mend!) Anyhow, over these few weeks I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the power of reading when it comes to coping with emergencies.
This isn’t a new thought for me. In fact, I’ve long been open about how my grief when my grandmother died propelled me to take comfort in the hundreds of romance novels she left in my care. It was reading those books that set me on the path to writing romance. But during that time, romance filled a need for me. I was sad, and missed one of the strongest female guiding forces in my life. Romance was an escape for me. And I’ve often said I read my way out of sorrow one rakish duke at a time.
But this time around, when I was feeling ill, and sorry for myself, I was shocked to realize that a romance novel can’t cure everything. I know! This is a blog about writing romance, and reading romance, and here I am lamenting that I couldn’t find a cowboy or a rogue or a rockstar billionaire anywhere that could make me feel better. Sadly, that’s the truth.
Sweet mother of mercy, I thought. Has reading lost its mystery for me?
My conviction that a good story cures what ails you seemed to be gone. As I flipped through samples and cover blurbs and covers, my mind would wander. I wanted to read romance. But I couldn’t. Because something had changed since I last needed an escape into the wonderful world of fiction. I’d become a romance author. And for the first time in my life, reading romance felt like work. It didn’t feel like an escape at all.
It reminded of me when I was a journalist, how watching the news became painful. I couldn’t see the information because I was thought too much about the business. Instead of paying attention to the story at hand, I was too busy thinking about the behind the scenes work.
But this epiphany does have a happy ending. Because what I found was that while I wasn’t able to escape into a romance the way I used to, I can still escape into a good old epic fantasy novel. There is power in books, my friends. The key is just to find the book that gives you what you need when you most crave it. (For me, it was David Eddings’ The Belgariad series)
So the next time you find yourself sick, or alone, or sad, or in pain, grab a book that captures your imagination and read until you feel better. And if you know the healing power of reading that I’m talking about, why not share your tale with us? Because I guarantee we all have experienced the way a book can make the world a brighter place.
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Author Victoria Barbour
Victoria Barbour is a USA TODAY bestselling author of romance novels set in Newfoundland. Her fierce pride of place is a mainstay in her writing. Indeed, she can imagine no better setting for her works, and hopes that her readers will one day come to witness Newfoundland and Labrador’s rustic beauty for themselves. You can find her hanging out on Facebook, or blogging on her website. Either way, she loves to hear from readers.
READ THE ORIGINAL POST OVER AT THE ROMANCE WRITERS WEEKLY BLOG . . .
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