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LADY CHATTERLEY’S RASH AND OTHER UNWRITTEN SEQUELS
The small girl student walks up to me and hands me her very first personally-authored book.
“Will you sign this for me?” she asks.
I pause for a tick and try to process this, before replying.
You see, I am sitting at a portable table in the hallway of a grammar school somewhere in North Alabama some years ago, a hallway crowded with milling students and teachers and…authors. I am one of five authors being spotlighted today, some famous, some somewhat known to a few readers (my category). We are all guest speakers and honored personalities invited to the school to encourage kids to produce literary works.
For some reason, each child has been assigned the task of writing and illustrating and binding an original book. The informal session going on right now provides the beginning authors a chance to mingle with accomplished authors. As proof of their participation, the students have to get the guest authors to sign their freshly produced works–a reversal of the usual author-signings common in the book hawking world.
“Will you sign my book?”
I look at this expectant child and blurt out, “I’ll be happy to sign the book–but will you allow me to read it first?” She looks startled that any stranger would want to read her work, especially a stranger accustomed to signing his own books for fans. She nods enthusiastically.
I examine the slender volume and begin to read her story, a tale of dragons and princesses and adventures, colorfully illustrated and meticulously designed. I finish, look up at its nervous author, and say, “I enjoyed this very much.” She beams.
I wonder what I can say to her that she can carry with her and perhaps remember years later.
“Have you started writing the sequel?”
Her brow furrows. “What’s a sequel?”
“What happens the next day?” I point at the dragon and princess.
A light switches on inside her eyes. I can actually see it. Her face beams. She almost hops up and down but controls her excitement. “Oh, I know what happens the next day! Can I write about that, too?”
“Yes, you can.”
I sign her book and she skips away, anxious to begin her neverending tale.
I think about all the sequels and sequels of sequels that have been written, are being written, may never be written. And I am happy that I have just met a fellow traveller, one who, like me, knows that no story ever ends.
Which is why I never place a period when I cease my narrative. It always goes forth to the next day and the next and the next, you know
© 2016 A.D. by Jim Reed