Inside Covers

June 3, 2008
By Lillian Chen, Cedar Knolls, NJ

My pages crinkle as I smile, for I hear the murmurs of someone who is reading my inside flap intently, and I feel the breeze of his exhale, as he has discovered a new story to devour. I am a train, connecting two destinations, leading to a gateway of knowledge. I am a transmitter, and I pass on a legacy of experience. I am the beginning, for there is nothing more magnificent than being the fuel of inspiration. There is nothing more magnificent than connecting two generations with timeless words. There is nothing more magnificent than satiating one's thirst for a drama more enthusing than his own.

It is as if I am a vault of words. Experiences in the form of words are deposited by aging authors. “Pass my memories on,” they whisper to me, as if it were a secret. And I do a good job of keeping quiet. I don't tell the readers the story is nonfiction. I don't tell them that every story is just an experience from someone else's life, no matter where it is placed on a bookshelf. My pages are hushed, frugal in their words. I give only as much as I have to, for I would like to make myself useful for as long as I can. I often refuse to relinquish these gifts that authors wish to pass on to readers, for not once have they thought of me. Not once have they thought that maybe they should slow their fast-paced writing. Not once have they thought that maybe I don't want to be put away, back on a dusty shelf.

I should be perfect. I should be eloquent. My life should glide on, as if I were skating on ice that had just been smoothed over, for it is a blessing that authors choose me above all, to pass along years of experience. I am so fortunate to be a collection of lessons, that I have learned it all without experiencing any of it firsthand. However, I am not without flaws. I am far from that. But I wonder what perfection is. Is perfection when I look in a mirror and see no blemishes? Is perfection when the cover that protects my aging insides is without a single tear? Is perfection when all the gleaming smiles I meet return to absorb my words a second and a third and a fourth time?

I mean this figuratively, of course. How can I look in a mirror? But when I look at myself, when one page meets the next, should it be perfectly crisp, as if never read before? And if I have never been read before, have I failed to do my job of satisfying my reader and passing on years of noteworthy wisdom? Would a broken spine be a mistake on my part or his part? Would it propel me closer to perfection, knowing that a reader has cared enough about me to dig deeper into my story? Or would it drive me even farther, knowing that my appearance has been broken?

Bound by hard covers covered with spiraling colors, I have a storage of emotions, bursting to the core. I savor the feeling of being opened, letting the words explode into the reader above. Seeing the youth's face light up is a gift in itself. I praise myself for helping one reader avoid a costly mistake that may have occurred in his near future. I feel satisfied with my contribution to the world when I realize that it is my words, my pages, my chapters, that have moved an adult to the brink of tears. And with this, it does not matter if I am perfect or not. Some people may enjoy what I hold inside of me, while others may not. But I cannot change myself, twist my words, alter my plot line, for that is not what the author intended me to bestow upon my readers.

And it does not matter that my words disappear fast off my face, for my reader has become immersed in the tale I have to tell. Even if it takes only minutes, hours, days to be consumed, I have been given this gift of spinning stories for a reason. The world will never learn if my words are never spoken.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!