My pages have the permanent lines of dog-eared memories. Pages 8, 24, 76, and 109 are missing. I can’t find them anywhere. Page 13 is stained with spilled diet Coke, and my chocolate-covered fingerprints dot 98 and 99. A couple of people ripped one of the pages once: 42.
My timeline is fragmented beyond repair. My sentences are not quick, to the point, or by any means simple. Words I don’t even know the definition of hide themselves in the confusing run-ons of my story. Adjectives are misspelled; commas are misplaced; punctuation isn’t necessary. My font changes from word to word.
I have doodles in the margins. I am underlined, highlighted, circled, crossed out. I have grammatical mistakes and misspellings – lots of them. I don’t even think I proofread a few sections. My editors are annoyed with me. I’m confusing. I’m incomplete. There is always something I need to fix or improve.
I start off slow. I spend three chapters just describing my family history. I bore people with minute details. But I always surprise them at the end of every chapter.
I keep them turning the pages; looking for the buried treasure, searching for the missing diary page, and waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. I introduce everyone to some pretty great people. And then I take them away. I erase people from my pages and let their spaces remain unfilled. I write everyone’s favorite characters out of my story and don’t apologize when they whine about it. I have a conflict, climax, resolution; another conflict, another climax, another resolution; another conflict-climax-resolution. I build myself up only to pull the rug right out from underneath myself.
I get lugged around in the bottom of bags. I am torn, folded, bent, beaten up, and broken. They break my spine and complain when I fall apart at their hand. I gather dust under beds after I’m tossed aside. I blend in with others when I’m stacked in the corner. I disappoint and soak up tears and get thrown out with the junk and skeletons from the closet.
But sometimes… Sometimes I am held tight to the chest of someone as they sleep at night.
Sometimes, I am scribbled on napkins. Sometimes I am whispered across classrooms. Sometimes I am put on display in the front of windows. Sometimes people pick pieces of my story to share with others. Sometimes I help…comfort, even. Sometimes I am just there to tell a story. Sometimes I bring smiles and laughs and tears of joy. Maybe my story will be made into a movie. Maybe I will make the papers. Maybe I will bring glory to my Author’s name. And maybe my name will not be forgotten.
But maybe it will. Maybe the crowds might not remember my name or even hear it. But I am a novel. And someone will love me. Someone will keep coming back to me. Someone will find joy in the torn pages and the folded corners and the missing sections. I will change someone’s life. Someone will cry with me and laugh with me and turn my fragile pages softly.