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Wednesday, March 15, 2017



This week, I became obsessed with the desire to write an Important Book. Time has proven that I can write a book...several, in fact...and readers like them, and in some cases, love them. But does this make any of my books Important?I think not.
But what kinds of books become Important? And why?

Books of the Bible: surely these are Important Books. Each one was inspired by an unusual or mystic event that eventually changed the history of the world and mankind.  Each book was conceived by either a witness to a miracle, a prophetic dream, a dramatic experience, or a religious revelation. Probably no one today could write books such as these: Exodus, The Four Gospels, Revelation, Psalm, Proverbs. 
The Great Books of the Western World: The original editors of the series chose three criteria for inclusion: Relevant to contemporary issues, important in historical context, and must be a part of "the great conversation about the great ideas."  A few examples are: Works by Aristotle, Plato, Virgil, Homer, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx.  
Important Books--A children's book titled, what else but "The Important Book," written by author of "Good Night, Moon," Margaret Wise. This simple book is about learning the importance of objects: a ball (it's round), a box (it's square), etc. So simple, I could have written this book. But...I didn't.
Classics: Almost everyone would agree the books now categorized as Classics are Important Books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Miserables, The Old Man and the Sea, Little Women, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Gatsby, Little Women, Moby Dick, Lord of the Flies--all these will live on.
Best Sellers: Some all-time best sellers might be labeled as Important Books. The most important have sold more than 100 million copies: A Tale of Two Cities, Lord of the Rings, The Little Prince, The Hobbit, Then There Were None. (To Kill a Mockingbird? Nope.. not even close to 100 million.)
Inspirational or Motivational: The Purpose Driven Life, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Power of Positive Thinking, The Road Less Traveled.
I see that I have a very high mountain to climb. How can I possibly compete with any of these Important Books?Well, I can't. I don't know one person in the realm of all my acquaintances in my entire life who has written An Important Book.
So, where does that leave me? In the dust, so to speak. Now I don't feel so much like a failure. Thinking I might possibly write something Important should just be a thought to put away.
On the other hand, how many common people never thought they'd do or write something Important? But they did? Maybe the book or feat wasn't way up there with Aristotle or M. Scott, M.D. who wrote The Road Less Traveled, but it still turned out to be good enough to be on the NY Best Sellers List.
We don't need to reach for the moon, but we might want to consider reaching a little farther than we have so far. My goodness, look at me. I have inspired myself! I'll just wait for a prophetic dream, a revelation of some sort, or perhaps a miracle. And then, get out of my way. I might write an Important Book.

"A Journey sets Annie on a path of discovery--new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly, love."
Celia YearyRomance, and a little bit of Texas
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  1. Celia,

    I've contemplated this topic, too. I have aspirations to write an Important book that will someday be considered a 'classic'. But the only story I have that has even the tiniest of chances of achieving Important or Classic status is a generational family saga that I've written and put away. I return to the story now and again to revise, but I don't have plans to publish it any time soon (for a variety of reasons). *sigh*

    Back to your statement about "Wish for the Moon" as being your personal Important book. Wish for the Moon is important to you, because it came from your heart, and I think that's where the true value and importance in any story lies.

    Thank you for another of your thoughtful and introspective articles.

    1. Kaye--Maybe all authors toy with the idea of writing an important book, even though "important' cannot be defined in this instance.
      I suppose it comes down to the book that is important to ourselves. Still, wouldn't we like to be included in the list of authors who wrote "an important book?"
      You are so right about WFTM being my personal important book. Yes, it is 'the book of my heart."
      Annie was not patterned after a real person, but Old Blind Jerral was pattered after my blind uncle who lived on the farm as an adult--At the turn of the century, there was little a blind man could do. (don't worry, my uncle's life turned out good--he learned Braille, went to a boarding school for the blind to get a seeing-eye-dog. There, he met a woman his age who was training with a new dog since hers died. They married and ran a newsstand. I wrote a story about my uncle titled "Uncle Brother Falls in Love." It was two pages and was taken by a local Texas magazine. They paid me $500!
      Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. We all have the potential to write, "The Important" book. The thing is, those who write them probably don't think they are writing such. So there is hope and you've inspired me to keep on keeping on! Doris

    1. Probably not one of those who wrote an important books thought that's what he/she had written. Time tells us if it's important...or just good.
      I'm glad you're inspired. Thanks!

  3. Great post, Celia. Really enjoyed it. And I LOVED 'Wish For The Moon'. A wonderfully romantic and rich story. :-)

    1. Thanks, Kristy--I didn't know you'd read it. I appreciate it.

    2. Celia,

      I even blogged about it. :-)

  4. An "important" book is all up for interpretation. If you have wisdom to pass on either from personal experience or that psychological doctorate you earned and you want to share that knowledge with others with others, I'm certain that could be "important" to those who want to live a happier life.
    Do-it-Yourself books speak for themselves and are important if you're trying to figure out how to fix that broken down lawn mower or renovate an old house.
    The big one is most likely the fiction books that are based in some social commentary relevant to a certain time period or social situation and driven by the emotion that makes the reader want to change the world or suddenly understand other cultures or social situations, or even class variations with a new, enlightened perspective. That's what makes The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird "important."
    I don't really care if my work is considered "important" to others, I care if it's important to ME. Some of my work contains things that I care deeply about like animal rescue, emotionally and physically handicapped children, animal therapy to help the animals and their people, kindness, fair play, a good heart, people confronted by life changing or devastating circumstances they must overcome.
    I believe deep down that, if you write a story your care about with all your heart, that story will contain something that is very important to others, too. You can't plan or just decide one day that you're going to write that "important" book, it just happens because you have something to say and you say it well.
    Wish For The Moon was a wonderful story and meaningful. You write many meaningful stories, Celia. I particularly like the stories you tell on your FB posts about how life was growing up and the things you and your family did--those little things that add up, story by story, and say something important about you and your family. Your words tell the reader about what you think is right and what you wish you could change, what you love and what makes you sad. It's all kind of important. You just keep writing what you love, Celia, and I, along with so many others, will keep reading them. Who knows, maybe one day, years from now, a book of your may sit on the shelves declared a classic, and be a very important book.

    1. Oh, Sarah--how touching your words are. I appreciate every one and every thought. I do enjoy finding a topic that strikes a chord with readers--it's not always easy, but I feel as though I hit the jackpot when I get comments such as yours.
      True, the word important has a different connotation to each person. Remember The Grapes of Wrath? I was fifty years old before I grasped the meaning of that story. At first, it was just an entertaining, gritty story. But later in life I realized it was an important book--in its own way.
      Did you ever read the Great Books collection? I remember classes and book clubs were formed around those Great Books. Right now, I couldn't name one title. But I remember To Kill a Mockingbird, and other like them. So, they are important to me.
      I read your comment twice--there's always something there to mull over a little deeper.
      You keep writing, and I will, too, knowing our books may not be important to the world, but they are in "our world."

    2. I bought the set of Great Books way back when I first started working. Honestly? It was the biggest waist of money I ever spent. It have Shakespeare in it, but most of them were a drag to read. Aristotle, Plato and so on and Freud's dissertation (big snore) was the last book in the set. The public library had a Great Book Club in which the members selected a book for all to read and then discuss. The Great Books did not contain a single female author's work. Many of the real classics were not included. I bought most of the classics one at a time on my own. I ended up giving away my Great Books to a guy who wanted them because they looked good in his book case. LOL
      I wrote a term paper on The Grapes of Wrath. Very dark and stark, but profound. Not loving Steinbeck--or Hemingway, either. I prefer stories that lift me up or make me laugh. And that is why I LOVE romances. Okay, Mark Twain is pretty good, too.

    3. At one point in my teaching career, I was a Great Books certified instructor. Neither me nor my students who 'joined' the club could get into these stories. Bleh

  5. I take the opposite approach in that I have an aversion to writing anything Important. Maybe that's why I love genre fiction rather than literary fiction. But then everything I write is Important to me, maybe in ways that wouldn't occur to a casual reader. For one thing, every time I write The End, it's a victory for persistence and focus, two things that I sorely lack. I'm a great starter and a lousy finisher.

    Others will likely never see anything Important in my works. Actually, I work hard to make it that way, for humor is never considered such. Dark drama is Important--humor is not, even though it may convey the same message. Does the reading elite classify Mark Twain's works, or Will Rogers' works for that matter, as Important as Tolstoy's or Hemingway's?

    1. Jacquie--Since I've known you, I recognized a free spirit who wrote stories no one else could duplicate. Your have a unique humor that, luckily, you can capture in words. A real talent.
      I am under no illusion that anyone anywhere would categorize my writings as important..not one person. Does that make me depressed?...No--all I need to do is write---and finish---stories that I like to tell.
      Thanks for your comment--now I know more about you and how you think.

    2. Taking Jacquie's comments to another level... Have you noticed that the Academy Awards for Best Picture invariably go to the movie that portrays the 'human condition' at it's most fragile, vulnerable, and dark? The light-hearted, humorous movies don't seem to fare as well.

  6. Excellent post, Celia. My favorite of them all is Goodnight Moon. Oh, I forgot Little Women, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Scott O'Delll's Zia. I find a great deal of importance in children's books, although Alcott's LW was an adult best-seller in its day. Not to change subjects, but going back to required reading lists at school, I think Huckleberry Finn is the best American novel ever and Catchet in the Rye an overrated snore.

    1. Tanya--somewhere in my Googling, I did learn that some children's books are considered Classics...therefore they are also Important.
      I like your different slant on the topic. And by the way, I have admired you as an important author from way back.

    2. Wow, thank you so much, Celia. High praise from a fellow author is the best! xo

  7. Duh, meant Catcher. And autocorrect did nothing! This after autocorrecting my grandson's name Rhys to Anus once upon a nightmare. 😳

  8. Celia, Sorry I'm a day late in commenting. Again, as always, I so enjoyed your post. Truly, I can respect the Important books as you've pointed out and it's right to view them all as such. However, we--authors who write fiction that will never be classified with those you've mentioned--write some very entertaining, heartwarming,thought provoking, meaningful stories and that to me and most of our readers is very important: that's why we read them. And half of the time we've included or covered a topic that was based on a truth or important happening. We need to write and read others' works as much as we need air to breathe. Our fictional romances make us laugh, even outright chuckle, sometime brings tears to our eyes and in most cases leave us with a smile on our faces and a feeling of being satisfied and maybe even moved from reading these little novels. And by golly I know I'll keep reading them until I can no longer read them--then someone will have to read them to me. That's how much enjoyment I get from reading them and by golly that's important to me. And Wish For the Moon is a story I'll remember always. It touched way down deep into my heart in so many ways and left me all warm and cozy inside. You already know how much I loved that book. Soooo that's a great book. Maybe not Important to many, but to me it was gold. Yes, we love romance and if they never get to be important to the literary world, that's OK. We are happy.

    1. Beverley--oh, so true...every word is true. What I wrote should be taken as you did--it's all theory and "what if." I know as well as anything that I will never write a story that will live on "in infamy." Nope, good stories are wonderful,and I nor any of you expect to write a book that might be similar to "To Kill a Mockingbird".
      All our stories are important--they become part of that enormous store of books "out there."
      Thanks so much for your insight, and especially thank you for reading Wish For The Moon and your comments about it.

  9. I think each one of my stories is better than the one before. As long as I can continue on in this way, I am happy otherwise I'd make myself crazy. :)

    1. Paisley--I think you've hit on the solution. "Try to write a story better than the one before. Very good. And trust me, we do not want you to make yourself crazy!

  10. Loved this post, Celia. You always make me think!

    I think To Kill a Mockingbird is "the Great American Novel"--I was shocked to see the low number of sales of that book--IMO, the best--or one of the best ever written!

    The thing is, we just don't know how "important" what we write may be to others. We've all read books that others have never heard of that might hold a place of importance in our own thoughts, right? So...why must we judge what we write by how others see it? Many authors and artists weren't "discovered" until after they'd died! They never knew they were "important", but died thinking they were just another wannabe.

    This is my favorite saying ever: "To the world, you may be just one person; but to one person, you may be the world." See? We just don't know what our stories bring to the table in other people's eyes--they may be a lot more important that we think!

    Wish For the Moon is one of my very favorite stories of yours, Celia. I'm so glad we have it in our collection here at PRP! You're important to us!

    1. Ah, I love your favorite saying. It is so true, at least I hope it is true that I am "the world" to at least one person.
      Lately, for no real reason, I have been told through emails or FB how this person loved my stories. You see, even good reviews don't really tell us if we're really important to anyone. But a personal note, etc, from an individual can really be special.
      I'm happy some people like/love Wish for the Moon. It's my personal favorite. It's one of those books that don't make a big splash, but it is one that readers are most likely to say something personal about.
      One lady loved the book because of Clifford, Annie's big slow brother. You know, I have no idea why I wrote him into the story..but as I wrote he became more and more important to the plot. I don't know a soul that I might have patterned him after--as I do know a real "Annie", and a real "Old Blind Jerral."
      I thank you for your comment and compliment, and you, too, are important to me. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for the conversation, lady authors. I resonate with so much of what you all have to say. I'm a renegade when it comes to writing. The whole literary-important book 'thing' never appealed to me. Yes, I've read some of the so-called important books mentioned, enjoyed some like Huck Finn... and I got a lot of value of The Road Less Traveled ... however writing romance novels really is my heart. One reason I write romance stories is because I can present a vision of what life can be, what love can be between women and men -- I like depicting a society, whether future or fantasy, where there is far more love, and far more possibilities for a good life. Actually, writing these worlds is spiritual for me.
    Wonderful post, Celia. I always admire what you have to say, and how you say it.

    1. Savanna--so you, too, like to follow a conversation through comments. I do this, as well..but not all the time. It depends on how interested I am in the book.
      Thank you so much for your comments..I cherish each and every one.