Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Literary Life

by Vanessa Eccles

Last month, I was able to attend an awards luncheon at Troy University in honor of the lovely Bobby Anne Mason, author of Shiloh and In Country. She shared about some of her life experiences in her youth and how certain events, now looking back, were particularly literary. This got me thinking. Do we all live literary lives?

Let us explore this further. Take a moment and think back at some particularly odd, beautiful, or ironic moment in your life. We all have them. We may even go further back – into our family’s history. Perhaps:

·         You ended up pursing a career that you had always swore you would not.
·         Your grandparents lived out a true life fairy tale/happily ever-after.
·         Your life was changed by the words of a stranger.
·         The love of your life grew up with you, but you never gave him/her a second glance until years later.

My husband and I, for example, knew one another for years before ever becoming a couple. It took a chance encounter and perfect timing for us to realize we should be together. All these things happen to people, and if that is not the stuff good literature is made of, I don’t know what is.

Ralph Ellison once said, “The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.” Take a plunge into the past, swim around in it for a while, find the deep dark family secret, and let your inspiration emerge.

Our lives are filled with tales that would make great books. We really do not have to look far to find wonderfully complicated situations that people would love to read about. Go on and change a few names, fluff a few details, and add a little spice to the pot. We all have a story to tell.

In the words of Ms. Mason, “Life is literary.” So, when are we going to start writing it?


Vanessa K. Eccles has spent a lifetime developing her skill and love for writing.  She completed her first novel Georgia in 2009 and is currently working on her second novel Realm of Desire. She blogs at The Writer's Block which is a place to share, encourage, and help inspire other writers. 

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