by Karen Ball
Wednesday again! The days go by so fast this time of year! Well, my office Corgi, Mr. Kirby, and I are happy to welcome you inside once again.
Last week we visited the kitchen. Today, let’s meander into the main office, where, no surprise, you’ll see bookcase after bookcase, all overflowing. Oh, I try to decorate and straighten, but more and more I’m embracing the chaos. I’m persuaded true bibliophiles are seldom organized because there are always more books than shelves! And when you consider that I’ve been in publishing for more than 30 years, you KNOW I’ve got an abundance of books. And what a happy abundance that is!
I’m a firm believer that if you want to get to know someone, you should peruse their bookshelves. So come meet me among the books living here. The first bookshelf holds my books on editing, grammar, publishing, marketing, and writing (both craft and research). The Courage to Write, The Forest for the Trees, Born to Kvetch, Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies, Lapsing into a Comma, BuzzMarketing, The Purple Cow… Tome after tome of words about words. And the world of words. Each one is like an old friend, and reading them always brings new realizations and knowledge. Much of which has become part of the fabric of who I am. Which is why, after the research I did on the wonderful Yiddish language for my novel What Lies Within, if you come to our house unannounced around dinnertime, you’ll most likely be served ibbergerblibbernis (Yiddish for leftovers. Isn’t that a great word?).
From there you’ll encounter a bookshelf of devotionals (Streams in the Desert holds such power in its pages!), Bible studies, versions of the Bible, commentaries, and various research books on the Bible and Bible times. These friends I’ve gathered over the years, nestling them on the shelf near my recliner so they’re readily available when I read and study. In their pages I’ve found hope and clarity, guidance and illumination, life and truth. That such things come from books…simply miraculous.
The rest of my shelves—3 ceiling to floor bookshelves in all–house novels. In these pages I’ve raged and laughed and wept at man’s weakness and God’s unending grace. I’ve solved murders, traveled through time, battled evil, rescued innocence, and risked all for justice. And love. Oh, the love held between these covers! Many of these amazing stories were written by authors whom I met as an editor and now, by God’s immeasurable kindness, count as friends. When I see their names, it makes my heart smile. And when I enter again into the worlds they created, it nurtures my spirit. And reminds me what a great honor it is to be immersed in story.
As we approach the celebration of the greatest story of all, the birth of Jesus, I encourage you to take a journey among your own shelves. Savor again the wisdom, enlightenment, and joy you found when words leapt off the page and imbedded themselves deep within, becoming threads in the fabric of your heart and mind. Let them remind you what a wondrous gift words can be. And let them move you to use words well in your own writing.