Monday, May 16, 2011

There Can Be Only One

By Janet Fogg

“There can be only one.” One what? One immortal who will wield a prize that gives him supreme power over all of mankind? Supreme power? Frightening, really. But appropriate, since that tag line is from The Highlander, where Immortals fight and kill one another by decapitation.

Aren’t words immortal? Don’t they wield great power?

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and certain passages of my favorite books resonate like a blade. Passages that slice deep, stay put. When I consider such books, I think of old friends squatting patiently on the shelf, books that I fall back on when I’m in a foul mood or when I’m exhausted. Books I’ve read so many times that I can begin to read mid-chapter and not miss a beat. These books aren’t Pulitzer Prize winners, not one. But they quicken my soul. These books are soft from handling, from too many reads, and the corners bend out, just a little. Yet no matter how supple the pages, the words adorning them are resilient, retain power and strength.

I want to write a book such as that. A book cherished by someone, someday. That’s one vision I strive for, that lurks in the dark edges of my mind. Only one…

9 comments:

Bonnie said...

My sister Roxanne calls these books "Old Friends." Whenever I'm feeling stressed or unhappy or I've come down with a cold, I snuggle up with an Old Friend.

One of my favorites is The Stand. It's such a big book with such wonderful characters and grand themes, and there's nothing quite like reading about a flu that destroys the world when you're running a fever.

What are your favorite Old Friends?

Dean K Miller said...

Sounds like you're ready to go to work. Hard part is you may never now when you reach that pinnacle. But heck, write the book and when you sell two copies, you've got a 50/50 chance that you've created that special book for someone. Seems worth the risk...guess I'll get back to work on mine as well.

My Old Best Friend: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach....hands down, no question.

Brent Wescott said...

I love your use of "quicken" with it's reference to Highlander. Thorough analogy.

I can think of one or two lines from my writing that someone else might remember like this. (I suppose someone else has to read it, though.) It'd be great if I could write an entire book that someone might think of like this.

Janet Fogg said...

One of my favorites is also The Stand, though my bedroom bookshelf is full of many others. SF, fantasy, mysteries, a few thrillers...

I just finished a Tana French novel. Might be time to visit an old friend.

Thanks for stoppying by!

Anonymous said...

I'm so anal, my "friends" tend to be nonfiction, often reference books addressing writing fiction and writing screenplays.

There are so many wonderful novels out there, I can't keep up with my pile. Once I enjoy one, I either analyze it (sticky-noting the genious or literally writing down what's working) or I set it asside to loan out, then pick up another.

From one careful read, I pack away its essence. Some I consider curiosities (how did that get published?), some are magical (how did she do that?), some are masterfully written (like an hour in a bubbly jacuzzi), some are dynamite stories (blowing me away). They stay with me. Or, I should say I stay with them. But I'm gregarious enough that I'm always hungry for new friends.
Karen Lin

Giles Hash said...

That's EXACTLY how I feel :). There are only a few books that stand out to me. And I will read them time and again before I die. I would love to write a book that makes readers feel that way. I get so excited for writers who achieve that kind of success, and I'm cheering you on.

:D

Patricia Stoltey said...

That would be a great way to be remembered, wouldn't it? I feel that way about "Wind in the Willows" and "Heidi" and Madeline l'Engle's "A Circle of Quiet."

Shannon said...

I'm too impatient to read a book again and again. And I'm a really slow reader. There are just too many books and too little time for me! It would probably be good practice to read my favorites again just to absorb why they are so good.

Ron at CM said...

Upton Sinclair completely changed the meat packing industry. George Orwell brought a totalitarian future to life. Asimov was, well, Asimov...

Those are the books I'd like to write. To hell with Sam Goldwyn's adage.