The Caliber of the Classics— Has Classic Literature Been Forgotten?

I read a blog post yesterday that questioned whether or not the classics are necessary to be read.  It made me remember that I once questioned that myself.  I must admit that when I was in high school I didn’t read a lot of the classics that one was supposed to have read at that age.  I read some but others I attempted and just couldn’t get through it, at least not then anyway.  However, since then I have read a lot of the classics that people always talk about and refer to quotes from as books that are just meant to be read in one’s lifetime and I must say that I think reading the classics makes a writer better.

There was a certain standard in literature that the classics upheld, a certain caliber that they were an example of.  A certain level of writing that one had to be qualified to have in order to really truly have their books on people’s shelves.  In the days of the classics they wrote deep, thought provoking stories, and breathed a particular depth into their characters.

In today’s society, while you have your writers who have that special something, who are of that caliber and who do uphold those standards of classic literature, there are far too many writers who haven’t met that standard and they don’t hold themselves to a particular style of writing in which they don’t just settle for putting anything on the page.  I thought about some of the classics that I have managed to read (some later on than others) that made a difference to me and had an effect on my writing.  Maybe some of these had an effect on you too.

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  7. WutheringHeights by Emily Bronte
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  10. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  11. The SecretGarden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  12. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Here are some classics that I still have yet to read (although I should’ve read them already by now) but that I plan on making an attempt to read sometime soon.

  1. A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What are your favorite classic novels?  What classics would you still like to read if you weren’t so busy writing your own novels?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

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The Before and the After—A Picture Tells the Whole Story

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely hate taking pictures.  Not taking pictures from behind the camera lens but to actually be in front of the camera lens itself.  So I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the last few years now and I committed to this journey no matter how long it took for me to get to a place of being healthy (and yes thinner too) and happy.  I also knew that I couldn’t do this quickly and rapidly because I had tried that before and it didn’t stick and that I didn’t want to lose weight surgically (not knocking it for anyone who has had weight loss surgery—just not for me) but rather naturally and that meant it was going to have to be slow and steady.

I’ll admit that at certain periods throughout the process it has been slower than others and of course there’s moments where you reach a new stage and you plateau.  However, I have managed to remain vigilant and have lost well over a hundred pounds but yet I still don’t like taking pictures.  My best friend asked me once if I had any before pictures so that I had something to compare things to because I constantly have an issue of looking in the mirror and thinking that nothing has changed regardless of the fact that my clothes have gotten looser on me and my face is visibly different, but as I stated before I have never liked to take pictures with me in them.

So today when I went to the gym (knowing that I had taken a picture for the membership card when I first joined the gym) I asked if I could take a new picture for my membership card.  When she took the picture and printed out the new card I took out my old one and looked at the side by side view (you can see it below-sorry it’s not a clearer picture) and the difference was, in my opinion, very noticeable.  I was ecstatic and overjoyed and of course I went and showed everyone in the gym my before and after and one lady even pointed to the before picture and asked who it was.  That motivated me even more.

Here's my before and after... See the difference!
Here’s my before and after… See the difference!

What does any of this have to do with my writing you might ask?  Well you know they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in today’s case my before and after pictures made a lot of things clearer to me.  That before picture was not a happy woman, perhaps a woman who faked it with some success, but definitely not happy.  But the after picture was a happy person, a more confident person, a more secure person, and a healthier person.  It in many ways mirrors my journey of writing that I spoke of with such frustration in yesterday’s post.

My writing career, years ago, around the time of that before picture, was existent (barely) but it wasn’t moving in any direction.  It had gotten off the ground (maybe about a couple inches) but it hadn’t took off, it hadn’t even gotten midway, it was just stagnant hovering somewhere around the point of the wheels of a plane being an inch off the ground but not yet ready to take off.  It has been a slow journey in that regard as well but unlike with my weight loss journey where I had succumb to the reality that slow and steady is better for me and in the end will garner more promising results, more lasting results, with writing I had wanted it to be a rush to take off.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that if slow and steady can win the race in one area, why wouldn’t it be the right track in the other area as well.

My writing career is still definitely not where I want it to be but it is definitely beginning to take shape and it seems to be ready to take off.  Just as with my before and after pictures in my road to a healthier and happier version of myself, I couldn’t see the progress before and it appeared as if nothing was really happening, my writing career has its before and after points as well.  My writing career, my writing style, has changed and taken different shapes right along with me and looking at the body of my work over the years I can see the progress now.  I can see the fruits of all of my hard work and I am just as overjoyed at that as I was to look at my before and after pictures from this morning.

Sometimes to see the bigger picture, you really do have to capture it in a picture.  A picture doesn’t just show the physical changes in a person but sometimes you can see a whole story in the person you are looking at in that picture, the emotional changes, the mental changes, the career changes.  So what would your before and after of you look like?  What story would it tell to the world?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

Sometimes I Question the Journey

“Faith isn’t believing without proof – it’s trusting without reservation.”

~William Sloane Coffin 

So I’ve been having one of those days where I’m wondering what all of this is for.  What is the point of pursuing all of my dreams when the journey to get to them is so daunting and frustrating and exhausting and painful?  When I still find myself having to worry where the next flow of income is going to come from and nothing is definite (which is what the beginning stages of a writing career looks like), it makes me wonder what I am really struggling for.

I am a chronic worrier and while I know that it is not good for my health to stress about things that are beyond my control I still somehow manage to do it.  I keep thinking, this year it’s going to happen for me just the way that it’s supposed to, and then it doesn’t so I get geared up for the next year to be the year that my hard work begins to pay off.  Yet still, not the rewards I had hoped to be reaping by now.

I get worried sometimes that this is all for nothing.  The struggle, the sacrifices, the tears, the anxiety, the not knowing, all of the things that come with following your dreams and just throwing caution to the wind.  I wonder if I made the right decision years ago and if maybe I was wrong about my ability to really make this work.

Yeah it’s been one of those days.  I have those days sometimes, and some are worse than others.  But then I remember that writing is something that I live for.  It is my purpose in this world and it is my vehicle to express myself and to be able to change the world.  Writing is something that I was born to do and it is the purpose that God gave me in this world.  On the days when I am in a state of constant worry and when I am wondering what the point of it all is I will have to try harder to remember that the point is to serve my purpose no matter how hard the struggle or how long the journey.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

Stuck in the Same Place I Left Off At

I must admit I had anticipated this first week of CampNaNoWriMo was going to go a little better than it has been going.  I picked up my novel and got reacquainted with it that first day like I said I would and it brought the energy back that I had for telling the story and I was ready to pick back up where I left off.  Well almost ready anyway.

When I got to the point where I had left off I remembered what got me stuck at that part to begin with.  I was left with the problem of not really knowing how to write the scene that the next chapter is supposed to start out with.  Well that problem did not vanish with time.  I still don’t really know how to start the chapter.

I am finding myself repeatedly researching information that is necessary for the scene and still not knowing how to write this scene.  It’s an important scene and I want it to be right.  So now I am still stuck at this scene.  I know that it can be worked through with some time but I constantly feel like I have less and less time available to write all of the stories that I imagine can be told.  I guess I just have to buckle down and work harder on that scene so that I can move the rest of the novel forward.  Well I suppose it’s time to get back to work!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

A Fortune to Be Told

I know that most people don’t give a lot of credence to fortune cookies or the supposed advice that they provide inside of them.  However, I am one of those people that do often times (not all the time) take what my fortune cookies have to say.  Of course they have to make some kind of sense or else I just toss them to the side.

My fortune cookies seem to always have meaningful messages that somehow just magically apply to whatever situation I am going through or whatever motivation that I happen to need.  At moments when I questioned whether I was making the right decisions I would get fortune cookies that read “Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned”, or “All your hard work will soon pay off”, or my personal favorite “God will give you everything that you want”.  Now I know that they may sound like some really good lines that the fortune cookie writer just happened to come up with but you have to understand the timing in which I received them.

Fortune Cookie Inspiration
Fortune Cookie Inspiration

So I stumbled upon one today (yes I keep all of the good ones stored away) that reminded me of how much our past experiences help to mold our future.  It read “the best profit of future is the past” and that is true for anyone but I think writers in particular get great use out of their past experiences.  We take the stories from our past and use them to shape the stories of our future.  One experience that impacted you greatly when you are younger, for a writer, can turn into hundreds of stories when you are older.

Thinking about this, in some ways, makes my somewhat cherish my bad childhood, or even the mistakes that I made as an adolescent or young adult.  I used to wish that I could take some of my mistakes from my past and get a do-over but then I would be changing my story, and the stories that I have to tell in the present and in the future.  I would be erasing all of the material that I have for some pretty good novels or even non-fiction cautionary tales in the (near) future.  You can’t go back to the past but you can turn your past into a very beneficial future.  You can let your past fuel the passions of your future.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

Camp Season Has Officially Begun

camp nanowrimo

Okay so today is April 1st which means that (in addition to it being April Fool’s day) it is the first day of CampNaNoWriMo.  I have decided that I am going to finish this novel so that I can get it into the editing phase.  Now of course I should’ve started back up today but I opted to, instead, get reacquainted with the novel because honestly I stepped away from it for quite a while and I need to not only remember where I left off but get excited about it again.  So here’s to all of you campers out there who have decided to also take the plunge into novel land for the month of April.  Wish me luck in actually finishing it this time around!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.