There is an enchanting 2011 animated film called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore, in which books transport the main character to another world. It is free on YouTube right now, because the directors are releasing another movie that they are using this one to promote.
If you love books and your books developed the ability to fly, it would be surprising, but you wouldn’t kick them out of the house. You’d say, yeah, I thought you’d do that someday.
I had a Fantastic Flying Books experience this past weekend. Although no actual flight was involved, a book that had sat unread on a shelf for 20+ years suddenly came to life.
Sometime in the mid or early 1990s I bought a book called The Wiccan Path: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. I don’t remember why I bought it. Possibly I thought the “solitary practitioner” part of the title might relate to a writer’s work. It wasn’t because I wanted to learn how to be a witch. Still don’t.
In all that time, I never had any interest in actually reading it. Until last weekend.
Now that Warning: Something Else Is Happening is only a week or so away from being published, a new novella is taking shape in my mind. It features a heroine who leads others in a good direction and is therefore a target for assassins, liars, and torturers.
I was wondering what forces formed her. Instantly I imagined that she was raised by a pair of white witches in a tight, closed community. She rebels against all this and leaves that world behind, but as her heroic journey progresses, she finds that doors opened during that time serve her well. Not that she is a witch—no. It is not that simple.
Gee, I didn’t know anything about white witches. Nothing whatsoever. Where could I find out?
The Wiccan Path, written by Rae Beth, gave me the exact information I was after. It is a fascinating, likable book. Parts of it read like a role-playing game:
You will leave the clearing and follow a winding, downhill path, until you see a cave. The entrance is not much more than a crack between two rocks. But you slip inside, following your familiar. A candle will be waiting for you, standing upon a rock. Pick up the candle and look all around. The cave is clean. Perhaps it is a crystal cave. The floor is sand. At the back is another opening. You go through and a passage winds away downhill, deep into earth. . . .
And so on.
I own a few other books like The Wiccan Path—unread but still there, waiting to take flight. The people who made Fantastic Flying Books would understand.
What books have a permanent place on your bookshelves?