Is it time to wake up again? How I’ve longed for the sweet feeling of my binding bending, loosening my pages and letting the ink stretch. Being cooped up for three years at a time can be exhausting! I have been longingly waiting to be taken off the shelf again, perused, edited, filled, and loved since 2015. How I long to feel her soft hands running over my pages, her pencil erasing and rewriting over and over as I try to be the best canvas I can be for her…oh I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start over. My name is “The Mystery at Kalahari” though I prefer when my author calls me her masterpiece…and I’m a living document. Though my author tries to convince me that living document does not mean that I am really alive and just means that she brings me back to life every couple of years when she edits me, I think she just doesn’t want me to get too cocky because not that many living documents exist. I know I’m special though. It all started in 2004; my birth.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was just a young book, filled with blank pages, waiting to be held and to be used. My pages were yearning to be filled with the words of some great mastermind. I was ready to become the next big thing. I was destined for greatness, like my family of books before me. You know the Bible? Well, not to brag, but rumor has it we are made from the same sort of tree, and so that makes us basically family, and well, you know how popular he is. I can remember the excitement of finally meeting my author, and then my immediate confusion when she opened me up. I was staring back into the face of a young girl, couldn’t have been more than 7 I’d say, with long bright blonde hair, sparkling green eyes, a face full of freckles, and a smile that could light up any room. It wasn’t exactly the famous author I was hoping for, but there was something about her passion and anticipation…I could feel it surging through my pages. I knew in that moment that though she may not be a famous author now, she had the power to become one, and she was about to pen her first short story
in me. As time went on, I learned that I was the assignment for her first grade class. They were to write any short story they wanted. She had just got back from her first ever trip to Kalahari, and that became the setting for the story she was writing. Suddenly I had a location, though it may not have been the most developed one, and I had a couple of characters. I didn’t know much about them yet, but I knew that in time my author would pen more details. There was a brief conflict, though that also wasn’t the most developed, and a very shaky resolution. She had the right ideas, she just didn’t have the tools in her tool belt yet to make me feel fulfilled. Nevertheless, I was a happy book with an owner of my own, and I was soon to be given my first ever grade…an A! We were so happy. That’s why I couldn’t understand when she closed the book and placed me back on the shelf…we were nowhere near close to being done! I know I was an A…but I still had so many questions about my pages! I remember falling asleep sad, confused, and lonely…I missed my author.
Alas, it was time to wake up again! I had been anxiously waiting for this moment again for…well…I don’t know how long! Since the last time she held me, really. I lost track of time trying to count the days. I could hardly remember my author, until I felt those hands wrap around my hardcover exterior. It all came back to me when I felt that power surge of love and
anticipation again. This time, I was ready. She opened me back up, allowing my pages to unfurl and settle, letting me stretch out and breathe for the first time in three years. By now, my author was in fourth grade. She still had the same bright blonde hair but it had been cut shorter now. Everything else was exactly the same…my author through and through. I patiently waited to know what caused her to revisit me while she read through each page. I felt a weird sensation of erasure on each page. What was she doing? Why was she getting rid of my words? What were these weird new words she was adding in my margins? I was changing…she was changing me…why?? This was a new sensation of hurt. I was her A…why was I being erased? And then I felt it. I could taste the familiar taste of lead being pressed against my book pages. I could feel each word being crafted as if it were a new tattoo being penned into my skin. Sometimes she still erased, but I was feeling more full than I ever had before. Suddenly, my characters had so many more traits to them! My setting had developed to a whole new level, and the conflict had me so intrigued! I wanted to know more…I had to know more! I was still very short, but I could feel a shift in her writing. She was getting stronger…her time was coming. It wasn’t here yet, but I could feel it. She was becoming better. She was learning new verbs, adjectives, nouns, literary techniques…she was finding her voice. I received an A again this time when she turned me in, and was still sad when she closed me up and placed me back on the shelf, but I knew our time together was far from over, and that gave me hope.
Fast forward to 2010. My author was in seventh grade and officially a middle schooler. By now she had changed schools, moved houses, let her hair grow back out, started wearing make-up, made new friends, and got new hobbies. Somehow I had survived the move, and thankfully though my author had been changing, her love of writing had not. One late fall day, I felt those familiar hands pull me off my shelf again and immediately get to work. This was a big assignment this time, and though she had the option to write her own new story, she chose to continue editing me! I was excited as more and more pages were being filled…this is the longest I had ever been! My writer was learning new techniques; school was doing her well. Suddenly my characters were round and dynamic (and she knew what those words meant,) my setting was developed and so was my plot and presented clearly to the reader, there was both internal and external conflict, some semblance of rising and falling action, a very strong climax, and an almost complete resolution! My author has this tendency to really overwrite, so her conclusions always tend to be rather abrupt for fear of going too far over the paper requirements, but she was such a good writer that I don’t think anyone minded really. She learned how to edit this time, as well. This was not a day’s worth of work, but rather weeks. Each day she would sit down and craft a little more. I was feeling so many new sensations. My author had definitely been reading a dictionary in her spare time, and she was developing so much more as a writer. I mean I thought she was great to begin with, but wow. She was really something. She placed me back on the shelf at the beginning of winter with a shiny new A as
well as lots of praise from her teacher and her family members because of course she had to read me to them! I was sad to go back to my slot on her bookshelf because we had spent so much time together lately, but I was so proud of her. I now was 20 full pages, front and back, with a new sense of identity and purpose. I was really becoming a story. I loved my author, and I could tell she loved me, or at least writing me.
I would say that that was probably the last profound change that my author made in me. She revisited me in 2014 when she was a high schooler, and once more in 2017 when she became a college student, but I find she has very little time for me now. I still feel her love for writing when she holds me in her hands, but it doesn’t burn as brightly anymore. Her creativity is dwindling, and she is becoming more and more focused on writing for school than she is writing for fun. She’s learned to go back in and add more minor details…more writing tips and tricks that make my sentences more complex, my imagery more profound, her voice more unique, and the writing more mature, but she hasn’t gone back in and truly created since those middle school years. I can tell when she holds me that she longs to write creatively again, and that one day she will turn me into a complete story. She dreams of being a published author, and I can hear her whispering to me sometimes that it will be my story she publishes first. She doesn’t like to admit it too often, but I really am what helped her grow as a writer. I was, and still am, her longest rough draft. I am her proudest moment of writing. I am what made her who she is today. I am what made the English Education major sitting in your class right now. I still believe that I am destined for fame and glory, and I believe now that my author will be the great author I was longing for as a young, barely developed book. There is so much talent, so much passion, so much progression evident in her. She has learned so much, and she learned it because of me. I’m so glad she pulled me off the shelf to let me tell this story this year. I think it’s time for me to go now until she is ready to edit me again, and I so hope after hearing this story, you encourage her to do exactly that. She doesn’t challenge herself enough anymore. I long to grow alongside her again…I long to keep living.