I can tell you, without question, the book that made a huge impact on my life. “A Theory of Relativity” is a book that I will never forget. Originally, I picked this book simply because I needed something to occupy my time and Jacquelyn Mitchard was an author from home. I was living in Nebraska at the time, depressed because I was 600 miles from my family, and bored to tears. It was spring and the library was only about a mile away so I began to walk there weekly.
The front room in our crappy apartment (yes, I have a history of crappy apartments) had windows on two sides that let in an obscene amount of light. The makeshift bed made of two by fours and a sheet of craft foam was surprisingly comfortable for curling up on and getting lost in the pages of a book.
The day I finished this book was a particularly down day for me. The sun was warm and I found myself relaxed. Then I read six words that made me break into hysterical laughter, “Oregon, the town not the state”. I knew the book was partly set in Madison and I had imagined the neighborhoods, knew where the characters had gone shopping, everything. This line struck me as funny simply because Oregon is my hometown and if you are from Oregon, you know that whenever you tell someone where you are from you say “the town not the state” because otherwise the next question will be “What part of Oregon are you from?” and then you have to explain that you mean a small town seven miles south of Madison.
That afternoon I was still 600 miles from my family but thanks to the words in the epilogue of “A Theory of Relativity” I felt a bit more connected to the life I had left behind. Sometimes a small detail can make a world of difference to the reader, that’s a lesson I hope to remember as I try to hone my own writing skills.