I am about to finish, for the upteenth time, my favorite novel, "The Great Gatsby". I know it is perhaps a cliche to say it is my favorite since it is often touted as the Great American Novel, but it truly is my favorite book ever. Recently, I was discussing this novel with a friend of mine who had not read it in almost fifteen years. She paused thoughtfully and told me that she could, as clear as I was standing there, remember the scene where Fitzgerald describes the white curtains blowing in the summer breeze. As soon as she mentioned it, the scene conjured images in my head as well, and I could not only see the picture in my mind, but hearing the crisp snapping of the material, and smell the warm scent of the summer flowers blooming as it rode in on the breeze. She too said that it was more than a picture but a feeling to her. It was the first time, I conciously thought about how the imagery an author creates is much more than an image in our minds, it touches all of our senses and creates a true experience for the reader that leaves an impression that, quite possibly, remains with them always.
I have read other books in addition to "The Great Gatsby", such as "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings", "The House At Sugar Beach", and all of Tana French's novels, that have this innate ability to create an experience that borders on a memory, for me. They more than touch my emotions, they envelop me, weaving me intricately into their tale. I don't so much see as feel the imagery, which is a magical thing indeed to me.
I strive in my own writing to bring this experience to the reader. I don't want to over describe something so that the reader longs to move forward, but to cook for them, with the perfect recipe, a moment where they are more than reading, but are participating in the story. I want them to feel as I do about Gatsby, inextricable tied to the characters, my senses full of every detail of every scene. The books that create that for me are read and reread, they are part of my soul, part of my life and I hope to bring that, along with much enjoyment, to each of my readers.