Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loss and Knowing authors?

What is it about books and authors that bring us in and make us feel we know a person, and know them well enough to be sad at their passing?

What is the connection that doesn’t seem to transcend into other mediums as well? At least not for me. I can enjoy a great piece of art or sculpture, without ever feeling the tinge of sadness that the originator is no longer around to produce more.

But with authors and books it is different. From Robert Jordan’s passing earlier this year with his to-be-completed final novel left behind, to the recent passing of Tony Hillerman, author of the southwest Indian mysteries with the characters Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn.
Whether I have read the person’s work or not there always seems to be a loss in the world somehow.
That the world is somehow an emptier place without them.
A world a little less rich.
A little less varied.
A little less interesting.

Maybe it’s not knowing the author so much as the characters?

And feeling their loss?

There is only so much time to read and so many books to read nowdays, and there is a sense of loss when you pick up a book, especially if you really like the book and the characters, of knowing there won’t be anymore. No new frontiers and ages for the characters to transcend, no new growth or possible changes for the author to come into, and spread on to us. As a writer I mourn that possibility. As a reader I mourn.

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