This summer I’ve lived on the moon, met an autistic man who finds the love of his life, followed the investigation of a sports coach who’s suspected of murder and then turns out not to be human, visited a Scandinavian town torn apart by scandal, taken a misguided road trip to Wisconsin, traipsed across the country with a single-minded gunslinger, and worried about falling asleep because, as a woman, I might never wake up.
Just a typical summer for a bookworm! I can’t imagine how limited my life would be if I didn’t read.
Oftentimes, when people discover I’m an author, they ask me why I like to write. I tell them I enjoy playing god by creating worlds and the people in them. But it’s more than that. Through my words I can give readers experiences they may never have imagined. That’s pretty powerful.
I’m not a doctor, nurse, policeman, firefighter, or EMT — I don’t save lives. I entertain people. Compared to a heart transplant, creating stories seems hardly significant. But what sort of life would we have without Melville’s white whale, Lee’s Boo Radley, Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, or Rowling’s Harry Potter?
Yet stories provide us with more than mere entertainment, they teach us and give us the opportunity to adapt and change. “Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution—more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” ― Lisa Cron, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
And now research has shown that story not only teaches us things like survival skills but might in fact change our brain chemistry. “The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” says Gregory Berns, the lead author of the study Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”
How amazing is that? It’s as if novelists have super powers!
So prepare yourself, I’m flexing my super powers:
We pick up the pace as darkness thickens and curfew approaches. Most of the street lamps are busted. The occasional lit one offers some comfort until I notice creepers watching from the shadows. A soldier with a machine gun strapped to his back appears on the corner. The creepers scurry away. (From The Devil Particle manuscript)
You’ve just experienced Paul’s world as he’s experiencing it. Pretty cool, huh?
A name for Gaige’s dog!
In my last newsletter, I asked for help naming Gaige’s Blue Heeler/Husky Mix who was found by Gaige’s nine-year-old sister digging up potatoes in the family garden.
I love your suggestions:
And the winner is: Spuds — Thank you author Debbie Deutsch!
Where you can find me this summer:
Book Sale during the famous Willem Tell Festival, September 2nd, 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Swiss United Church of Christ, 18 5th Avenue, New Glarus, WI – I’ll be joining 15 local authors as we discuss, sign and sell our books. Hope to see you there!
Paradyme Productions, September 4th – 7th. I’ll be on hand as local actor Rob Doyle reads Carpe Diem, Illinois for the brand-new audio book! Rob has performed at the American Players Theatre, the Children’s Theatre of Madison, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. And this September, he becomes Leo!