Each of us write our very own story book. We sit on shelves, some of us getting dusted regularly whilst others merely gather so much they cannot be seen.
Some get read more than others. Your chapters are fingered through, the paper wearing thin and you are well cited. The story you promise looks intriguing. You’re decorated with eye-catching patterns and colours, almost impossible to walk past. So much so that most people know your story, you are happy to read out each verse and reach deep into your soul to draw a person into your world.
A few of us just sit there, uninteresting to the eye at first until you’re pulled out of a pile and you captivate somebody. Your title sparks questions, an urge to read on. Pages that hide secrets, a story that excites more than the cover, filled with chapters that make you want to flick from one page to another deep into the night. Your delights fill the page, your sadness leaves tear marks that let the next reader know they weren’t the first to relish the thick black ink that captured your life.
The dusty ones, we get passed by, our covers long hidden under a deep blanket of dust. Our stories deep, dark and kept on the bottom shelf out of the sunlight. We can always be reached, but it’s rare to be. The title bland, the illustrations plain yet the text is unforgiving. It goes beyond anything that can be contained in a single title. Our hidden stories lay here, unread, unspoken and dormant.
From the day you were born you were handed a blank sheet of paper. Until this day your love, hatred, failures, accomplishments and sworn secrets are bled into the sheets. Unlike a pencil, your words cannot be erased. A permanent reminder for the rest of your days. What you will find throughout your life is you will never run out of ink until the day you are no longer able to grace your pages with another story. Each chapter is as unique as any other. What you tend to find is you bookmark the best stories and let anybody open you up for a short while, replacing the mark when the chapter is finished and taking your book back. Rare moments in life will you feel comfortable enough to hand a book to another and show them an unmarked chapter. The pages as fresh as the first time you filled them in. The rarest thing above all is to hand your story to somebody, dust off the cover and ask them to return it when they have finished, your pages disturbed by the thumb prints of somebody else…
When reading a book, not all you will pick up are going to be first editions. By that I mean they may have been adapted for entertainment and face-value purposes. The flaunting of a surreally rich life. A perfect family. A raging successful business. This may be a sub-plot of their story, but it’s not the main body. Visit the archives in their basement and you will see that first edition lurking under a leaking water pipe unread and banished from reality. The pages still continue to write themselves regardless they just remain hiding stories that are not be seen by eyes other than he who writes it.
After holding a book in our hands, feeling it’s strength after reading from start to finish, we make a judgment. Deciding if it was good or bad. Sad or happy. Whether we agreed with the authors choices or thought they were wrong. That character you followed on a journey, you met him at the start and saw him through until the end. You know everything you need to know to make that judgment call. Had you have put the book down a quarter of the way through and then gone on to discuss the book with another who had read from start to finish, your judgment would be uncalled for as you never took the time to find out what happened to this character. If two of you read only a few chapters and then formed an opinion, that is what taints the storyteller and his credibility for continuing to write and fill his book with honest content. His book will remain true to his word, he can’t escape that, but judgments without reading the whole story can make his book a rejection and others will have formed an opinion without even taking the steps to read that story for themselves.
We all have chapters in the story of our lives we will never share. Those chapters were not only difficult to write, they were and are personal. So personal it hurts our hearts to even wonder what it would be like for the writing on those pages to become ink smeared at the the hands of intruders.
What about the chapters of peoples lives that have been pulled off the shelf, photocopied and distributed amongst friends, enemy’s and strangers? The edited versions printed in Newspapers with the raw meat hanging off the bone as the headline guts them? The version taken from the first edition, wrung out for the darkest moments in his life and against his will splashed in front of readers who would never have chosen his book? You don’t need to read his story, the one filled with truth because you already believe what you choose to. The prominent presence of a saddened story is all you need to hear to make your judgment.
I keep my storybook on the bookshelf. Take care of it. Make sure I dust it. It’s in clear view for people to ask what it’s about. It’s not full of happiness I tell people. Misfortune, heartache etc the list goes on. In no way do I have a perfect life and in no way do the scarred pages detail anything of the sort. I’ve never lent my book to anybody. A select few I have poured a glass of wine for and fed them a selection of the finest and roughest chapters so they can get a glimpse into who I am.
Your own story is nobody else’s. Unique to you, they cannot tear pages out and add plot twists. Your darkest pages may be smeared with blood and not a single person is aware they even exist. You will make mistakes and close a chapter, hoping never to return.
As the saying goes, never judge a book by it’s cover. Before you make your next judgment call, make sure you know and understand the full story before making assumptions. Never burn what you think is a mistake because you will never get that back to find out it wasn’t in the first place. By then it’s too late for forgiveness.
A first edition holds its worth for a reason.
“To sit in judgment in those things of which you perceive to be wrong or imperfect is to be one more person who is part of judgment, evil or imperfection” – Wayne Dyer.
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