Kicking off the new website/blog with this wonderful guest post from Rebecca Curry!
I once had a college professor begin a world literature course by explaining that he did not expect us (the students) to love every piece of literature we read, but he hoped we would gain an appreciation of classic literature. This was pleasant news to most students in the course, as many of them were not English majors but Bachelor of Arts degree-seekers who simply needed to fulfill a literature course requirement. Throughout the semester-long literature course, the professor conveyed his appreciation of literature to his students through his teaching. In turn, his feeling of enjoyment transferred to us as well. Most importantly, he taught us to recognize the value of literature written by great authors.
The value of reading is not synonymous, but rather collaborative with the value of writing. Avid reading advances writing skills, and authors write to provide literature. Authors write for different individual reasons: to gain money, to fulfill a life goal, to impart knowledge to others (whether through writing nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, etc.), or to give people material to pleasure read. While I love the world of fiction - I feel that reading fiction allows me to escape the real world for a bit - my mom enjoys nonfiction; and though nonfiction is often informative, it is very often a great source of pleasure reading for those such as my mom. Autobiographies are high on her list of desirables.
Though not all readers write, all writers read. Writers do not necessarily need an English degree to obtain the status of a great writer. I constantly read articles published by people whose stories are too wonderful not to tell, and I am grateful these people write them; it seems that more often than not, they are not English scholars. Sharing stories is what makes us different from any other species on the planet. And that’s not to mention the fact that cultures have been sitting around campfires telling historically significant tales since the beginning of time. Homer was telling Odysseus’ story in hopes of keeping cultural treasures alive. Thousands of years later, we continue to carry on this tradition.
Imagination is the art of being able to pay attention – as my formerly mentioned professor explained to me – and successful authors have sincere imaginative minds. Though Homer’s Iliad was based on a true story, he embellished the story, to say the least. As an English major, my appreciation of authors of classic literature continues to grow. However, I am grateful too for authors who write for the principle reason of providing pleasure-reading material for readers. If those authors also happen to include intellectual literary elements within that novel, I’m hooked! (Kudos to The Hunger Games. Not only did this series reach a wide audience, it also provided material of academic merit.)
I am a huge Hemingway fan and, in my opinion, you can never go wrong with Charles Dickens, but Charlaine Harris recently wrote the cutest series about a librarian who lives outside Atlanta solving murder mysteries. Though I love the intellectually daunting analysis of great literature, sometimes I just want to sit on my front porch and read a Southern cozy. I am sure many English majors and serious writers would disagree with me, but nevertheless, I hope writers will continue to do what they do - and write.
Rebecca Lee Curry graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching. After teaching for the past two and half years, she is now a full-time graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Middle Tennessee State University. She works as a proofreader for Thomas Nelson, Inc. and enjoys writing for various publications as a guest author. Recently, Rebecca co-edited Mr. Fred A. Manske's newly published book, Core Strategy for Success. Rebecca can be reached at rebeccaleecurry (at) gmail (dot) com.