Guest Post by Marci Nault
While I was writing my novel, The Lake House, a new library was being built in my California town. Each day I’d drive by and see the progress of this beautiful glass-filled building that promised a reading room with a fireplace and soft, comfy chairs.
The day it opened, I rushed in thrilled to write surrounded by glorious books. To my surprise the shelves were nearly empty, yet there were rows of desks filled with people, their heads down, their laptops plugged in, perusing of all things the internet. I thought the books would come, but three years later the shelves hadn’t been filled, but more computers had been added.
As a child, library day was the best part of the week. My mother would drop me off in the children’s section and I was free to get lost in stories. I still remember the smell of dust and old pages, the crinkle of the plastic covers around the hardbound books. Through stories I lived in an old English mansion looking for a secret garden; fell down a rabbit hole into a mystical world of disappearing Cheshire cats and Mad Hatters; and fell in love with my prince. In that library I was an adventurous young woman instead of a shy child.
Books have always been a part of my life. I spent hours hidden in the corner behind my grandmother’s recliner where no one would send me out to play. Bedtime had me hiding under the covers with a flashlight; my mother somehow catching me each time even though I thought I was being sneaky. Summers were spent in a tree or out in the woods stretched in the sun with a book as I daydreamed about a life I could someday live.
Little girl dreams get replaced in adulthood, but the fantasies that books created lived inside me. The stories whispered of bigger worlds and haunted my psyche. Whenever I walked through a bookstore, a sense of calm filled me as I perused covers that called out adventures.
In my mid thirties, my life suddenly fell apart and I turned to books once again to find strength and knowledge to overcome my hardship. Harry Potter let me escape for a weekend giving me reprieve from hurting. A New Earth taught me how to remain present. And The Seven Lively Sins reminded me that life was meant to be decadent.
The whispers of dreams that had come from so many stories in childhood turned into cheers. I made a list of 101 Dreams that I wanted to come true and decided to begin a new adventure: I’d see the world; I’d try everything I’d ever wanted to learn; and I’d become a fiction writer.
As our world becomes more about technology and people race to publish books electronically, crying out that the traditional publishers are antiquated, I have to wonder what will happen to our dreams. Editors and agents have been the gatekeepers – searching for those gems that will take people past their daily lives, splicing through beliefs and doubts to allow them to experience a bigger world, heal their hearts, and dream bigger. If we stop caring about craft what happens to our society? In making the gatekeepers evil, in creating a world where our attention span lasts for only 140 characters will we stop imagining bigger lives beyond what’s right in front of us?
Maybe I’m antiquated in my beliefs. The Lake House, is about the unlikely friendship between two women, one seventy-two the other twenty-eight, set in a small lakeside community inhabited by men and women from the WWII generation. In the novel I wanted to create the feel of the Norman Rockwell time when people honored hard work, spent lazy afternoons with neighbors, and had the patience and pride to hone crafts. Through the young woman I tried to show how much my generation has lost.
My novel allowed me to live in a world where libraries were filled with books, people brought neighbors casseroles, and they actually had conversations instead of texting others and being on Facebook while having dinner. Children played in their backyards instead of being constantly stimulated with activities and technology.
It’s through our stories, art, and dreams that we grow as a society and I believe that only through protecting what we once had, believed to be antiquated or not, that we can grow in a positive way. It should never be about the speed at which we can produce but the stories that will bring the reader a gift that will remain forever.
Marci Nault hails from a town not too far from Lake Nagog in Massachusetts. Today she can be found figure skating, salsa dancing, hiking and wine tasting around her home in California. Marci is the founder of 101 Dreams Come True, a motivational website that encourages visitors to follow their improbable dreams. Her story about attempting to complete 101 of her biggest dreams has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide, and she regularly speaks on the subject on radio stations in both the United States and Canada.
Marci is also a partner in the online bridal boutique www.ElegantBridalDesigns.com where she’s surrounded by couture shoes, purses, clothing, and accessories, which isn’t a bad deal at all.