Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Good Book - Few Will Ever Be

"A book is essentially, not a talked thing, but a written thing; and written, not with the view of mere communication, but of permanence." (William Swinton, 1885)

Words written with such precision that the passion of one's mind is conveyed to all who read as though they were living in your time and sitting with you to mull over thoughts, important enough to record. This is my heart for writing. I desire not to print words on a piece of paper bound together between two covers, so that it may sit upon a coffee table, on a dusty shelf or in some forgotten space of clutter.

Why write?

William Swinton wrote, "All books are divisible into two classes, - the book of the hour and the book of all time." Both are necessary and delightful to write. "The good book of the hour is simply the useful or pleasant talk of some person with whom you can not converse, printed for you," Swinton continues. And to this I can attest many great books that have captured my heart and allowed me to travel generations away to see life through another's eyes. Real books that not only capture the events, but the impact upon the writer's soul. Swinton beautifully concludes that these books are "very useful, often, telling you what you want to know; very pleasant, often, as a sensible friend's talk would be."

For these books I comb, thrift, antique, and private collections in hopes of meeting someone I would never had the opportunity if they had not put into words their take on life. "The bright accounts of travels, good-humored and witty discussions of questions, lively or pathetic story-telling in the form of a novel, firm fact-telling by the real agents concerned in the events of a passing history...," recounts William Swinton. And I heartily reply, "Yes, yes!" For histories sake, I read and search out truth that can only be spoken by an eye-witness account. I glimpse a slice of life and peer into a heart of a precious soul who recorded for all time what it was like to live in the world at their time.

All books of the hour, we ought to be thankful for them, and make good use of them, but never allow them to ursurp the place of true books. Books of the hour are strictly speaking - in Swinton's opinion - not books at all , but merely letters or newspapers in print. More and more I read and review for publishers books - that barely deserve that name, that are nothing more than print on paper, that never would have been a letter or newspaper read. And it grieves me deeply, that time, resources, and space a shelf is given to such worthless pages of beautifully printed paper. "Oh, for a real book to be written!' cries my soul.

When I write I esteem to provide a manuscript because
"I have something to say which I perceive to be true, useful or helpfully beautiful. And so far as I know, no one has yet said it; and as far as I know, no one else can say it. I am bound to say it, clearly, and melodiously if I can; clearly, at all events. In the sum of my life, I find this to be the thing or groups of things, manifest to me; this the piece of true knowledge, or sight, which my share of sunshine and earth has permitted me to seize." (Swinton's words restated in first person tense)

So I see other book printed and released with titles seemingly capture the heart of my message crying out to be said, but I am never dismayed, nor disappointed. While some may speak before me of the topic I am compelled to write, it is uniquely through my walk with God, the precise steps He makes certain I take, so that I alone can set down forever, what I was allowed to see and know. And the hope is if anything, even in a very small way, can help another to measure or map out the essentials of our short life a good book has been written!

I must confess, I do desire to write a book that in truth and sincerity can take a place among the company of the dead. To me a good book is one that can be read throughout time, assuredly tested by measured living, to audiences both hungry and in need of a a direct course to see clearly in the disturbed present maze, which is just a twist or turn of that which has been for all time a right path gone wrong. We walk, not of new, but well-worn places... and need a guiding hand of those who have gone before to reach back saying for all who desire seek light, heed truth, live pure, and most of all know Him.

I will write a book, but not just a book.... a good book that will never be dead, but hold the potency of life, preserving what might be lost, if not in print for those who follow. This is the cry of my heart.

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