Out of the Closet

I read a blog post a while back (wish I could find it now) about one writers confession that they were a fan of pop music… chiefly, Justin Timberlake.  The author of the post had to put aside the stigma of being an against-the-grain-indie-driven hipster.  In the end, however… credit needs to be given where credit is due, and an appreciation for Justin’s music was acknowledged.

This post is similar in that it is a coming out of the closet of sorts (not so much for Amy) of an appreciation for the literary works of Nicholas Sparks.  Not sure as to what kind of introduction that he needs as most lovers of love stories have at least seen The Notebook or A Walk to Remember… among others.

Speaking for myself… I’m a fan.

In my younger days, I was able to sit and digest books in the form of Judy Bloom… Paddington Bear… A Wrinkle In Time, and many others.  I remember sitting in the bowling alley on my folks league night and being immersed in these stories to pass the time as I snacked on a Pepsi and some French fries.

But… as I got older… my attention turned more to non-fiction, mainly because my studies occupied so much time and attention.  There was always a part of me through it that wished that I could once again become captivated by a good story… but nothing that I started really seemed to grip me.

Until recently… and looking back over the past 20 years, I can say that John Grishams, A Time To Kill was the only cover to cover read I was able to push through.  This gap in my literary intake has left me disappointed.

As far as genre, I’ve begun and put down so many different types of books that I began to wonder if I would ever find a cozy afternoon with a good story ever again.  Nothing really seemed to satisfied the types of emotions that I was feeling when I got gripped by a good movie.  Thrillers or mysteries always served for good entertainment… but they weren’t how I wanted to spend hours of my life covering words on a page.

Then… nearly a year ago… the opportunity came for me to pick up a book that contained a love story.  In the quietness of my bedroom, after everyone else was asleep… and nobody was looking (I’m a man, after all), I turned the pages of a Nicholas Sparks book.  It didn’t take long… and I was finished.

Beyond just finishing that last page, however… I had discovered an emotional rollercoaster in the story that pulled out many pieces of me that had been buried deep for quite a long time… and left me wanting more.

Now… of course… this opens me up to criticism of course… name calling… laughter… and jokes.

It’s all good.  There is nothing that can be thrown at me that I haven’t already heard.

I like the simplicity of Spark’s work in that the basics are in place:  Two people who against the winds that life blows at them, find a way to keep the flame burning and find that one thing that they believe only comes once in a lifetime.

The characters are likeable.

The situations they face are relatable in the sense that we hope somewhere inside of us that we would endure like they did.

Most importantly, however… is that in these books, I am able to ‘feel’ again.  In some small, but very real way… I find a gift that I am able to give to someone else, and believe… that they will feel and receive.

Whether it’s friends… family… or someone you love, Nicholas Sparks books give me the permission and the tools to be human again… and that, I can’t deny.

So… now… ‘Mr. Sensitivity’ is out of the closet… smiling and waving.

What think you?

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