What draws you back to a book for another read? Do you have books that you reach for over and over again, or are you a one-and-done reader? What about your favorite movies or TV series? What is it that pulls you back in?
I am a one-and-done reader. Not so with movies or TV shows. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched the TV series, Miami Vice, or the movie Gone with the Wind. At that breath-clutching last scene, before the credits start to roll, I always say each time, “Why does it have to end that way?” My husband looks at me as if lobsters are crawling out of my ears. He turns his head away and reaches for the remote. I am always wanting a different ending although I know better. Remember the movie Clue when three endings were written? All were quite plausible and worked!
When younger, I was a huge Frank Yerby fan and read every one of his books. The one I did reach for over and over was The Golden Hawk, a swashbuckling novel of passion on the high seas. A second one I read many times is While Passion Sleeps, a wild rustling tale set in Louisiana to San Antonio in 1836 by Shirlee Busbee. I have dog-eared pages and lightly underlined sentences, all donating a self-taught study for what might lay ahead in the future. Young girls dream too. Although my taste in reading has moved beyond, I hold both of these well-read books in my red cabinet bookcase.
Another favorite that I have read more than once is Shadows in the Sun by Wade Davis. The professor I worked with at the time was doing research and asked me to order this book. As soon as it arrived in our office and I opened it, the name itself pulled the jacket open and I was captured by the author’s stories and essays about traveling and living among various indigenous cultures. I ordered my copy and have read it several times. This was during the height of Indiana Jones, and no doubt, these true stories reflected hidden findings and meanings.
I would like to share this poem I was inspired by three of the chapters in this book ~
Nightfall in Green
The Amazonian sky remains green.
Clouds fold into patterns of mist and light,
hovers in the dim shafts of jade and musk.
The jaguar crawls along the floor with no earth,
cushions of flora and moss mold his prints.
Instincts throb along the forest spine
calling to timid shadows, fear to quiver
behind shields made of ferns.
Other times dreams are sought by Rufino,
those who survive in the denseness.
Dreams billow among the partakers of the jaguar’s
nectar. Hand and hand they dance under the sky’s dark face.
Each spirit takes flight with roots and potent herbs.
They see the edges of the world soften.
Beliefs breathe among the dense fauna in the jungle
to move beneath its massive thousand shades
of green canopy. In the dark midst, the jaguar lay
still, his waiting ephemeral.
My point here is inspiration for writing can be hidden in many places or out in plain sight.
Jake Speed, an action-adventure comedy, written by Andrew Lane and Wayne Crawford, is another favorite movie my husband and I both like to watch, and yes, I ask “Why does it always have to end like that?” He smartly replies, “Because it is not Gone with the Wind.” He knows by now I have changed that ending to suit me. I turn my head away and grab the remote.
With books, I refer to reading as a delicious solo event. I look for certain passages where I have marked (with a bit more respect using a sticky note, not a dog ear) and revisit them often. I like most endings, and if not, I change it. What if this happened instead? Same as in a movie if I prefer for it to end differently. I chalk it up to another avenue for writing practice.
There is only one Margret Mitchell and one Gone with the Wind, so I won’t tell you about my version of Scarlet and Rhett because you may be the one to reach for the remote.