~ It’s my party & I’ll Cry if I want to ~
I am fortunate to have a mother who reads. Well, she doesn’t read, she listens, she is blind from radiation necrosis, but we consider it reading (strangely I know some who don’t). It is a rare joy to be able to share a book and discuss it. I’m lucky enough to have a book club, a mom and now you, for this.
She called me yesterday in tears. She had just finished a novel I had recommended, “Dragonfly in Amber” the second in the “Outlander” series by Diana Galbadon, and she couldn’t quit weeping over the characters. We got to talking about how and why a book can do that to you and how wonderful it is. I related, when I was reading the end of “Deathly Hallows” (the part where Harry has decided to give himself up and he’s going to his death and has used the resurrection stone to bring his parents and Sirius back in spirit), it made me cry so hard I had to stop reading until I could see again.
WHAT HAS THE AUTHOR DONE TO MAKE US CRY?
Hopefully we are crying because the author wants us to, but what have they done to elicit such emotion from us? My mother thought perhaps we see ourselves in each character, but although I think she’s close, I don’t think that’s it. I did not see myself as Harry, (Hermione, maybe, a little Luna, but not Harry) and yet I blubbered like a baby. I confess, I just finished another sweet ambling book called, “The Unlikely Journey of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce and I am not a sixty some year-old retired Englishman, but at the end I wept for a half hour after I put the book down.
When you think about it, the answer is obvious. The writer made us care. We care about that character as we would our own mother, or sister or father, or lover or truest friend. Instead of seeing ourselves in the character, I think we take a bit of that character into ourselves. Often times, and hopefully if the author has done their job, taking a bit of character into ourselves makes us a better person, reminds us to be more thoughtful, forgiving or even stronger. I also think a good writer can open us up in ways we don’t allow ourselves in everyday life and once that gate it is open it can be a flood.
Brian McDonald says it similarly:
“Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way you turn a phrase. You have a very important job–one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings–and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone. You must make people understand that we are all the same.” ~ The Golden Theme: How to Make Your Writing Appeal to the Highest Common Denominator
I say let it flow and share the joy of feeling.
Do you cry for a different reason? Do you have an alternate opinion? Do you like to cry when you read?
Tam Francis is writer, blogger, swing dance teacher, avid vintage collector, and seamstress. She shares her love of this genre through her novels, blog, and short stories. She enjoys hearing from you, sharing ideas, forging friendships, and exchanging guest blogs. For all the Girl in the Jitterbug Dress news, give-aways, events, and excitement, make sure to join her list and like her FB page! Join my list ~ Facebook page