**Guest Post by Author Mark Gibson**
She’s the author of my life. She penned me. It took her months of labor. No rewrite. Early on, she felt like scrapping the first draft. The words just wouldn’t come. I guess she always assumed they would, quite naturally even flow from her heart down her wrist and become the ink that inscribed life onto my blank pages.
Yes, I was a blank slate. My pages white, uncreased and with that exalted smell of fresh print. I think she wanted to keep me that way, if she could help it. Nobody could desire to destroy such beauty, careful with every touch, holding it like glass, even to avoid soiling it with smudgy fingers.
But as she ventured again through my pages, becoming intimately acquainted with each one, they bent here and tore there. Tatters of what they used to be. Even the cover, which displayed so pristinely my name and cover by which all judge me (don’t pretend that you’re any different), that soft paperback cover was marred by trickles of neglect.
She tried and tried to comb out the bends. She only lent me to those of equal literary mind and taste in some self-justified crusade to preserve me for those more deserving of what she’d penned inside all those years ago. But what she couldn’t see by shunting me askew in life was that my story changed. No longer did my pages hold the same innocent rhymes and repetition as she had once intended. I was changed. Was I changed? Or had she and I both forgotten that this was how I was all along? Or did she just see with eyes different from her earlier days?
Or were my eyes different? They felt different. More tired.
I learned more from being read than the reader did, I supposed. What did I have to offer that they didn’t already possess? Not much, I convinced myself. It was a wonder why they kept coming back to me, as if wanting more. Didn’t they realize that my pages never changed and the more and more they read, the more I wore? Changed I was. Worn.
Imagine if she had scrapped all of my potential in the early days of draft. What would I be? A memory. No, a shadow. A regret? Would I always burn in her soul as the story that never was?
It took me a while to learn this one lesson, though. Despite that others used me. Despite that I was bought and sold for less than I’m worth. Despite that I was left to bloat in the rain. Despite that I have missing pages and scribbles from the three children that once held me. Despite it all, I think I am exactly what she saw as she penned me. And though, I was made for this purpose, it was not she that made the change. It was me—I’m the Narrator.