“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
How true this fortune cookie bite of wisdom is! And how wonderful it is to revisit old “friends” and enjoy their wisdom and beauty anew. It’s like rediscovering something about yourself as well.
Just recently, I found an an old friend of mine, one of my all-time favorite authors, when a search through some boxes of books revealed a hidden treasure trove of novels by Willa Cather. I have some of her writing easily at hand on my bookshelves, but these were novels and stories I’d read quite a while ago and tucked away. What a gift to myself!
I opened “Lucy Gayheart,” one of her later novels, and was instantly entranced. Turning to a page at random, her crystal clear prose leaped out at me and reminded me of why I love Willa’s writing:
Her descriptions of setting are incredibly evocative and infused with emotion. In her hands, the weather or a place becomes a mirror, a reflection of what her characters are feeling. People and places are enmeshed in a way that both reveals and conceals.
Her skill in capturing the inner emotions of her characters seems so artless and natural. It’s as if someone’s heart is made of glass and Willa sees peers into its depths and shares what she sees.
Her compassion for human suffering and foibles is, for me, one of her deepest strengths and one of the touchstones of a wonderful writer. She doesn’t judge her characters, she understands them. And as readers, through her, we come to understand them as well.
I’m diving into “Lucy Gayheart” — what a fabulous name! — and loving it. What a delight it is to visit with Willa again!
How about you? Is there an author you really loved early in your writing days that you’ve forgotten about? Someone whose writing you admired and who inspired you to want to write yourself? Why not give yourself a gift and rediscover what enthralled you back then? Write on!
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