My pages have the permanent lines of dog-eared memories. Pages 43, 76, 104, and 199 are missing. I can’t find them anywhere. I haven’t looked too hard. Page 14 is stained with spilled Coke and my cheesy fingerprints dot 88 and 89. A friend of mine ripped one of their corners once; 72. They stayed up all night taping and gluing and wishing it back together when they could have been filling 73-84 with words. Those pages are blank.
My timeline is fragmented beyond repair. My sentences are not quick, to the point, or simple. Words I don’t even know the definition of hide themselves in the confusing run-on’s 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 and– I don’t think I even proofread a few sections. My editors are annoyed with me. I’m confusing; I’m incomplete; I drone on and on. There is always something I need to fix or something I can do better. I am a constant workshop. My editors can’t get enough of me.
I start off slow. I spend three chapters just describing my family history. I bore people with minute details. But I 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, waiting with baited breath to see if he’ll show up on my doorstep or not (spoiler: he won’t). I introduce everyone to Sam and Andrew and Brandon and Thomas and Jeremy and TaylorWilliamMaxCharlesRob (I think those were their names) and the one I keep going back to. I take away Sam and Andrew and Brandon and Thomas and Jeremy and TaylorWilliamMaxCharlesRob and FINALLY!!, the one I keep going back to. I erase grandparents 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 then pull the rug right out from under 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 windows. Sometimes people pick pieces of my story to share with others. Sometimes I help. Sometimes I comfort. 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’ll become famous. Maybe I’ll make the papers. Maybe I will bring glory to my Author’s name. Maybe my name will not be forgotten.
But maybe it will. Maybe the crowds might not remember my name or ever 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 someones life. Someone will cry with me and laugh with me and turn my fragile pages gently.