by Carrie Bailey
Librarians and certain bookstore workers frighten me. Try suspend belief here just briefly as I explain. I've worked as a librarian and in a bookstore, I have a Masters in library science and I love books. Naturally, I shouldn't be afraid of librarians or booksellers, but I am, because the precise people who are attracted to books are often the people who just don't like other people. They're the type of individuals who will dip your toothbrush in the toilet when you're not looking. They'll stick gum on your seat when you go to get your third cup of coffee.
|A Mobile Curmudgeon Wagon Where I Once Worked|
Behind that nasty glare, these, the bad librarians are often thinking to themselves, "Books understand me." I can relate to this feeling. I've read a book and though it was like entering the walk in closet of another person's mind, it was also like being welcomed home into that tiny closet and served tea. I was wanted. As a reader, I felt important or somehow privileged to be part of reading experience.
This sort of reading experience is only possible, because at some point in time, there was an author who wrote those books and that person liked people. That author had a general, fundamental, inherent and inalienable love of humanity and individual human beings regardless of how bitter or how smelly they could become. A book is not a pile of loosely bound paper understanding that understands us better than our coworkers or family. It is the blood, sweat, laughter and the love of a great writer.
I don't want to go personally library to library to find the world's curmudgeons and force a hug on each of them (well, I do, but the time involved...). Instead, I can watch Black Books and be enjoy the cantankerous bookstore owner and love him without wanting to change him just as the writers who created the character did. They didn't want Bernard Black to stop hating people or drinking or smoking or frightening the public with his personal hygiene. Why should they?
We love to read authors who love people. We love to read those most who can find something about everyone agreeable and accept imperfections, maybe even ours.As authors, I think it helps to remember this. It doesn't mean we have to write sappy, drippy, runny love notes instead of books. Rather, we can consider the difference between the last book we read that felt as though the author was indifferent, condescending or even patronizing of our perfectly functional brains, and the one we enjoyed. Oddly, some horror authors are the most cuddly individuals you could want to meet. Naturally, we want to read their gore, because there is something in it, something special. Whatever it is, put it in your writing and send that special feeling of being understood to all the librarians and bookstore owners the world over, because that's what a great writer does.
Carrie Bailey is the author of The 3 Indispensable Rules for Taking Charge: A Reptilian Guide to Personal Finance and World Domination and blogs on Tumblr. She recently moved from New Zealand to North Carolina and is currently moonlighting in a giant gummy bear factory while working on an Oz book about the glass cat, Bungle.