I've Been Getting Older Lately: The She Writes Guest Blog

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not long ago, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (a novelist, memoirist, teacher, and dear friend), invited me to contribute a post to She Writes, "a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write, with over 15,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries."  Reiko herself had been invited to spearhead a series of front-page stories called "The Daily Mentor," and you can find her series on the She Writes front page all throughout this week.

I was, of course, more than delighted to contribute.  I share my post with you here; it will go up at noon on She Writes.  Please check out the entire site and register to join, if you haven't already.

When Rahna Reiko Rizzuto invited me to submit a guest post for She Writes, I remembered, as I often do, a day Reiko and I once shared in Manhattan.  A long walk.  The rocks of Central Park.  A story she was telling about the Hudson River.  Turtles.  I remembered that day, and then I remembered all the years before and after, when Reiko and I have been friends.  And then I had this thought, small and essential:  None of any of that would have ever occurred if it hadn’t been for books.  Because that’s how we met, Reiko and I—through the books we’d been writing, through the books we had read.

I’ve been getting older lately, and I’ve been realizing this:  I feel most at peace among those who recognize the power of books, who work to write or protect or celebrate them, who value them, who buy them, who will write an email, 4 AM:  I’ve just found a book that I know you will love.  Some may see this as an elitist thing.  I see it as anything but.  Lovers of books are lovers of stories, and stories are foundational, heart-centric, core.

Publishing is hard, full of abrasions and deflations, unnecessarily brusque, unnaturally confusing—or, I should say, publishing can be those things.   But writing books and reading them, loving books and sharing them, is a different matter altogether—it is a peace zone, a shelter.

I will have published fourteen books by the time next summer rolls around, and what stands out most for me, in all these years, is not the reviews or the awards or the sales figures (never the sales figures!), but the community of book lovers, book bloggers, book friends that I have found and kept, the community that has kept me.  What stands out for me is the walks that I have been privileged to take, the conversations I have had, the rescue and the shelter, the promise and the passion, those turtles sunning themselves on those rocks. 

Something true and affirming has emerged from it all.  Something real, and honest. 


Serena said...

Those are great moments..the connection over books. I love blogging about books for that reason...making the connection over books. Most of the time as a writer I feel inadequate by those authors I meet...my skill lacking, my mind paused in awe.

reiko said...

Thank you Beth! I remember, too, how, on the day we met, we talked for ten hours - through lunch and after, hanging out in Kate and Camille's hotel room, not stopping. And we ran through the rain, torrential!, subway-flooding!, to get to our reading. Reading your words, your books, hearing your voice, has been a continuing pleasure for me. I look forward to having them up on She Writes very soon!

Melissa Sarno said...

I love this for a million reasons (where oh where did you see the turtles?!) But mostly because I like the idea of a peaceful shelter amongst all these bookish people.

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