…and I am SUFFERING. S U F F E R I N G. SUFFERING. SUFFERING. SUFFERING.
Okay, so I just finished reading the Divergent series today, and I went through all the stages of grief that one goes through when an incredible book ends. Tumblr knows.
And I’m now doing the thing where I question why I do this to myself, you know, get so invested in these people that don’t exist and their fictional problems and relationships only to crumble when something horrible happens or when the story ends. With excellent books and series like Divergent that grip you and weasel their way into your heart where they make a home, this is particularly devastating. And yet, we keep going back to them, re-reading the passages that specifically ripped us apart and I always ask myself, why? Why do I do this to myself? Why do we keep reading? At moments like these, it almost seems masochistic; like we’re only reading to feel something, even if that something is heartbreak.
Then, it only follows to SCREAM at the author. WHY would you do this to us? HOW could you let this happen?! It’s instinct to blame the author. After all, they wrote it. They could have made all of this better.
This is the part that interests me. I think most authors will tell you that at a certain point in the writing process, the story takes control. You are just a supplicant of the pen (or key board, in these cases. “The pen” just sounds more romantic amirite). The outcome no longer becomes a matter of what the author desires- it becomes a matter of writing what is faithful to the character that you created.
To me, it’s incredible. It’s incredible that writing, which is a deeply personal and creative process, can leap from you and become something you didn’t expect. How can we lose control of something we are actively thinking about and writing down? It comes from our heads, but it doesn’t seem that way. It becomes almost like a symbiotic relationship: the characters and environment giving us the words, and our hands then writing them down.
I think in the end, we always go back to books not because we are masochistic, but because we are searching for human connection and for a way to better understand. And it becomes clear that our authors are surprised by their writing, just like we are. Though maybe not to the same extent because, come on, they did write it after all.
If you, too are suffering Allegiant feels and sobs and anxiety, I encourage you to read what Veronica Roth has to say about the ending. It is rare that we are so lucky as to understand what an author thinks of their writing. It made me feel better at least.
Side note: I realize I post a lot about this stuff whenever I finish a great book. Sometimes, it just needs to be said over and over until you feel okay. Thanks for bearing with me. And plz, rant and then tell me where I can read those rants so that we can rant together.
See ya in a bit. Review on Lauren Morrill’s Being Sloane Jacobs coming next week!