Friday, May 8, 2009

WORDS THAT MATTER

Hi again,

It occurred to me as I was writing 'American Masters' that there has been a disconnect between readers and writers. I mean, so many people seem to be reading only for pleasure (which ain't bad, but bear me out), that I began to realize that many readers simply don't know why the classics are the classics, or why they too might be a pleasure to read. What has happened is that classic literature has been intellectualized beyond the ken of most readers. When they think of the classics they think of words like high-falutin and artsy-fartsy, instead of having an image of some great read they can refer back to again and again.

This is a newly-formed idea, so I'm just working it out here on the keyboard. (And I want to hear your comments on this). If people just sat down and read some of our classic American literature without thinking they had to understand every minute detail of it setting out, why, they might find that they actually enjoy themselves. They might find that Huck Finn dressing up like a girl is just a plain old hoot to read. They might find that the hero of 'House Made of Dawn' connecting up with his ancestral stories and the hero of 'Ceremony' connecting up with the rituals that make one well, are just plain good reads. (Not to mention that a reader might get the idea that they, too, are connected with an ongoing story that extends all the way back to the American nation and before.

What I'm saying is this: why should only a few of us gain the pleasure of reading the classics when so many others could benefit from it. Then, instead of feeling like they have to read the latest any-old-thing to come out, readers might be a little more discerning in their reading.

Come on, what do you think? I found in writing 'American Masters' that our stories are important. That our words do matter. And that what we read and write is important to the future. Add a comment please - it don't cost you noffin'.

Keep reading,

Jim

2 comments:

  1. This recalls Shakepseare's Globe Theater, where the common crowd gathered down front in standing room and viewed The Bard's work despite not having any education and could still appreciate what they were seeing (or at least some of the elements of it). I think the problem is that people don't know to take advantage of such things... Librarys are very good things that people do not use to their best advantage.

    Really, with Hollywood constantly just rehashing stories they've already told us before, some "fresher" ideas could be found in the classics... and they might just have something important to say to us now.

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  2. Thanks for your comment. In re-reading all the classics lately for my work I have seen how each is unique. No rehashing there.

    Thanks again. Jim

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