Oscar Wilde, abandoned books, and us

Oscar Wilde said, “Books are never finished. They are merely abandoned.”

I know what he meant. If you have read Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, or even “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, you know there are writers who write long, thick books that take a year to read. They love their characters, they love to see what their characters will do, and they love to escape into the world they created for their characters.  The real world can not be controlled, it is out of all our hands. But a writer can create a world, he can control what happens.

Using myself as an example. When I finished my first e-novel “Loonies in the Dugout” I realized, in part because of the ending, and in part because I loved my two main fictional characters, that I could not end their story. I had to abandon the book, it was finished, at least that one, so I took my two favorite people and placed them in a new story 11 years later in another town where I could hang out with them some more.

In the course of that e-novel “Loonies in Hollywood” I created another character, a flapper named Clancy. I fell in love with her as well, so when this book was abandoned because it must come to an end, I had to write a third e-book with all three of my friends. “That was “Silent Murder.”

Once that was abandoned I started another e-book with the same three characters. So I understand what Wilde meant. At least my interpretation of what he meant. He could also have been talking about the agony of rewriting and proofreading and that the writer reaches a point where he says ‘enough.’ But I think it has more to do with never wanting to escape the world the writer not only created, but inhabits with his characters, sharing their adventures. The writer is the fly on the wall.

Writers and readers do share a common bond and that is we both like to escape. The writers escaping into his world with his friends, secretly hoping to never have the story end, to write about them forever. And the reader escaping into a time and place, the world created by the writer, one the reader can also escape into. Perhaps we can find each other in this world. If you spot me, say hello.

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