There is a certain alchemy in writing a book. Where do ideas come from? How do they knit together to form a story? What elevates words to resonate with a reader’s inner self? An author may seem like a bit of a magician conjuring elements, or perhaps a conductor taming orchestral components together to make music.
But reading can be even more magical. Words written by a stranger maybe years ago can resonate deeply and touch your soul. Fictional characters can be more real to you than the people you see every day. You can curl up on your couch with a book and be completely transported into another place and time in a way that feels so astonishingly real that when you put down the book, you temporarily lose your bearings. And sometimes you can read something that travels through time and space to speak directly to your troubled heart and give you peace.
W.B. Yeats put it this way:
Where My Books Go
All the words that I gather,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm darkened or starry bright.