As I write this post, I’m sitting in a London airport. This is my first time coming to this city, to England in general, and, of course, I spent the last few weeks with excitement scaffolding on excitement as the time for the trip got closer. My husband and I had a long layover and decided to use it to get a taste of London.
But here’s the thing that surprised me: London didn’t. Yes, I’ve seen movies that take place here, am familiar with the same signature tourist sites that everyone is, and I plan to hit many of them next week. But as we were passing by neighborhood after neighborhood, as I looked at the landscape and structure and pitch and city, I felt strangely at home.
You see, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. I know this place very well. I have studied the history and the motivation and the experiences of many people, real or made up, and this foreign city that required 14 hours of traveling (including one 20-minute sprint through the Montreal airport) feels like home.
That is the power of books. Because of my journeys with characters made up by someone who loves a particular place, I, as a reader, am able to share that love. I have fallen in love with the powerful imaginations that created both Hogwarts and Terabithia. I have been able to experience times and countries otherwise unavailable to me, can feel a connectivity with people in proximity who are reading a book I loved, who cried over a character as I did.
As I have been thinking about what I want from my writing career, I have had moments imagining accepting an award, moments when I pictured my name on a bestseller list, moments when I picture who could act the roles within my books. I doubt I’m alone in that. But really, truly, when I think about a book that I wrote, formatted and printed for someone to read and enjoy instead of edit and critique, what I think about most is having someone – one someone – let me know that what I wrote mattered to them, that what I wrote brought them comfort, that what I wrote felt like home.
This is what drives my character development and setting creation, this is what I think about when I don’t feel like writing. I read to experience worlds and loves and challenges someone cared enough to create, and the best way I know to pay that forward is to do the same.
Tasha Seegmiller is a mom to three kids and coordinator of the project-based learning center (EDGE) at Southern Utah University. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with a hint of magic, and thrives on Diet Coke, chocolate and cinnamon bears. She is a co-founder and the managing editor for the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog as well as a board member for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Tasha is represented by Annelise Robey of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.