|The World Behind The Words
Author: Aurora Borealis - Polar Lights PM
A kind of essay - kind of philosophical thinking of mine - about books and the world behind the words in the books. This summary is rather confusing, I know... Just read the "essay", then you'll know what it's about. :PRated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,254 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 09-17-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2573004
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A/N: I didn't know what kind of fiction this is so I put it into the category essays. I hope this wasn't too wrong... -.-
The World Behind The Words
OR Why I Like Writing So Much
To some people, a book might be nothing more than an entertainment made out of paper and ink. Written, manufactured, printed, sold, bought, read and done. A few hundred pages of paper, printed with letters of ink, forming words. Words filling the pages. Maybe a drawing or a picture here or there. But other than that – nothing. Just words. "Just"...
But it's so much more than that! Think about the world the book represents. Think about the world behind the words. It's so much bigger than just the story written down in the book! A book really gives you only an idea of what the world is like. It's only an excerpt of the world.
If you think of Harry Potter, you don't usually think about the little Hufflepuff girl that is bullied by all her classmates and has a really difficult life but is never once mentioned with a word! She might be part of "a bunch of people" or "a lot of pupils" but nothing more. In the Harry Potter universe, there are about as many people as in our own and each person has his or her own story – just like in our universe. Or every other, for that matter: the elf who is so small and stout he's often mistaken for a dwarf, in the Middle-earth universe; your average farmer wife making her living by tilling their fields together with her husband, in the inkworld; a totally normal snobby magician who is actually from the lower class just like Sonea (only that nobody knows, of course), in the Magician's Guild universe; a talking foal happily roaming the country of Narnia, in the Narnia universe; other children and their Neverlands, in the Peter Pan universe; Mary Poppins visiting other children beside the Bankses', in the Mary Poppins universe...
You could go on like this forever. You could pick one of the above mentioned universes and write thousands and thousands of books about it and still it wouldn't be quite explored. There will always remain numerous Here-Be-Dragons1 in the world behind a book.
Just think about this! Every book contains such a universe under its book case. How many books are there? How many books have ever been written? How many different universes have been created?
Some scientists (or rather: physicians) believe in the assumption that there isn't just one (our) universe but rather an inumerous amount of "universes" (scientists call them "multiverses"). In each multiverse there are said to be other laws of nature in force. According to the physicians, these hypotheses aren't confirmable because you can't get from one multiverse to the other. I like to imagine that all these multiverses are worlds behind books. That there is a multiverse containing Middle-earth, elves, dwarves, hobbits and magic somewhere. Or another one where children can fly once fairy dust has been blown on them and can then run away to Neverland. It's a nice idea. The only unfortunate bit of it is that you still can't get through to the world behind a book. You have to remain in this multiverse, whether you like it or not.
Reading a book is really like standing in front of a huge stone wall that stretches endlessly to your left and to your right and above you. And in this huge wall there is this tiny hole one can see through. Imagine there is a wood right behind the wall. It stretches far to your left and right but at some point it melts with the horizon – it's too far away, you can't look any further. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, maybe thousands of miles to your left might be the sea, or a lake, or a castle... You wouldn't know as you can't see it. Right ahead of you is the wood. Maybe there's a huge clearing just a few feet away. But behind that there are trees again and trees and trees and trees. And you don't know what's behind them.
These parts of the world are unreachable for you, untouchable, unperceptible. You only get to know something about these regions if somebody – or something – talks about them in the area you can overlook and overhear. Otherwise, you will never know what's going on behind the clearing, or far to your left or right. Or behind you, if you imagine the wall forming a circle around you rather than just standing in front of you.
Let's linger a while at the wall... The most maddening (yet somehow also reassuring) thing of this wall probably is the fact that you can't get over it. Maddening because it takes you the chance of exploring this universe of wonders, totally different from our own world, yet almost the same. Reassuring as it means the world's villains can't harm us: monsters, bad magicians, evil lords, ruthless and cruel pirates, bandits, corrupt jurists, decadent politicians... You name it. You are in the book's universe, in a tiny circular space surrounded by an unclimbable, endless, smooth wall. You are in the book's universe, yet you can't climb the wall (or overcome it in any other way). The only thing you can do is look through the eye hole, remaining passive, and imagine you were on its other side. The wall won't allow any other behaviour, no tampering with the world of its protection, no strangers wandering astray it, no running away from your own universe with its own problems...
Another interesting thing is that whenever a reader opens a book, the world is created anew. Everybody who looks through the eye hole witnesses something else. One person sees a cherry tree. The other doesn't even notice the cherry tree but remarks a group of fir trees the first didn't note. One person observes fairies flying around. Another sees butterflies instead. Another thinks they're bees or wasps or exotic glittering insects. Yet another one views them as exotic tiny wee little birds. Or to put this into more scientifical terms: I'm talking about the perception of gestures and behaviours for example – every reader senses the underlying reasons for certain behaviours or certain relationships in a slightly different way. Every reader "decides" what he or she sees in the world, what he/she feels behind the words.
Beside all this, one has to notice how much power the author has. He commands a whole universe, decides who is important and who isn't, who says what and when, who does what and when and how and why, who reacts how and when and why and so on... He is the God of that universe. He can do whatever he wants. He has the power over everything in that world. Total control... The power of a universe trapped inside a book.
(I know, this sounds a little mad and hungry for power but actually I'm not at all like that...)
All of this is soo magnificent! And that's – (drum roll) – why I like writing so much.
1 phrase used to denote dangerous or unexplored territories; also called: "Terra incognita" "unknown land" (Latin)