I was browsing this week through some old newspaper columns I had written and came across one that focused on Winnie the Pooh, By A. A. Milne. In the column, I had mentioned that, had he still been with us, Milne would have turned 125 that year. But as I perused the article, I began to think more and more about how long-lasting books and their effects on us can be. I still remember so many things that I read in books as a child. And I am constantly amazed when I look at the authors that I have loved best over the years and realize that, since those books were written (some even hundreds of years ago), every single generation has discovered them anew and chosen them as favorites.
I was especially blessed to learn that one of my little nephews, Josiah, at the age of two, had come to love one of my favorite poets almost as much as I do. There’s no question that Robert Frost has been one of the most quoted, most loved, and most written about poets to grace American literature. And several succeeding generations have read his works with great pleasure. But I did not suspect that a 2-year-old boy would find him so appealing, until I realized that amid the scores and scores of books Josiah has in his ownership, his very favorite is a book devoted entirely to the poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.” Now, this book is not a children’s version, paraphrased for young minds. Not at all. It is the entire poem in the author’s original text, along with a few photos that are applicable. His love for this poem caused me to realize anew just how powerful and almost eternal great writing can be. In an age when all kinds of multi-dimensional media are vying for kids’ attention, this quiet, unpretentious poem — this great piece of literature — is a 2-year-olds’ favorite “story.” How blessed Robert Frost would feel to know that. Hopefully he does.
Naturally, all of this thinking led to my going over in my mind the list of my personal favorites. Now, I won’t try to write out that list in this article, because it would make this piece way too long — and inevitably I’d forget one and feel compelled to come back and edit. Then the next day, I’d have to edit again to add another, and so on. But I’m sure most of you who love to read know exactly what I mean. And it gives me a warm, comforting feeling to know that, no matter how “modern” or “technologically advanced” we get, people keep looking for and finding something valuable, lasting, and often life-changing in books that have been around a long time.
As an author myself, I hope I too can write books that will touch people at the core places of their hearts and lives so that what I write will be considered valuable enough to be chosen by generation after generation. I will never forget the thrill of realizing for the first time that something I had written really did have the power to capture people’s attention to the point of making them forget everything else and to move them to great depths of emotion. A couple years ago, a woman who was reading one of my inspirational novels, Quenton’s Honor, said to me one day, “Boy, I’m not happy with you! I started reading that book last night, and I couldn’t put it down. It was 2:00 in the morning before I was able to make myself put it down and get some sleep.”
She has absolutely no idea how thrilled I was at her words. But it got better. A couple days later, I walked into the office where she worked. She was in tears — almost sobbing. I hurried over to her and said, “Barbara, what’s wrong?” She mopped her face and blew her nose, trying to stem the tears enough to answer. In the meantime, I saw that she had the book in front of her on the desk. She then looked up at me with tears still streaming down her face and slobbered out the words, “I’m just now reading where …” (and proceeded to tell me the scene she was reading from the book) ” … and I just can’t stop crying!”
I remember thinking, “Yes! That’s exactly where I wanted you to cry!” I decided maybe she’d feel better if she knew that, so I said, “Wow, Barbara, that’s great! That’s exactly what I want the reader to feel from that scene. Thank you! You couldn’t put it down to go to sleep, and you cried in all the right places! That’s terrific!”
Of course, I’d like to have the same powerful effect on readers all the time, the way a couple of other current authors do. For example, I’m a Vince Flynn fan. In my opinion, he literally “wrote the book” on high-concept political intrigue. Every sentence is packed, and for that reason, I find it almost impossible to put his books down once I start reading. And since he has kept me up past 3:00 a. m. on a number of occasions, one of my goals in life is to write a novel that will keep Vince Flynn up until 3:00 a. m. as well. Wish me success.
9 thoughts on “Please Tell Me It Kept You Up Until 3:00 A.M.”
Wow it must be wonderful to have such an impact on your readers!
Thank you for taking the time to read the article, Gilly, and to comment. I really do try to write the novels that I believe God assigns me to write — and that He orchestrates and anoints them. I was just talking to Him early this morning about how it’s my job to write them and it’s His job to make sure they get into the hands of the right people.
I haven’t had much time to read on other sites this week (a lot of other ministry needs and working on getting a children’s blog up), but this coming week I will be trying to get around to the blogs of the friends I have begun to make here. I’ll visit yours again soon.
Well, your blog article has me up @ 2:28, A.M. right now reading…so, that’s certainly a great indication your book will keep me up all night…Wouldn’t surprise me if Vince Flynn wasn’t up reading your work right now either…he can’t be preparing for another “Glen Beck” appearance.
Thank you for such kind comments. I hardly ever get time these days to watch anything on TV, (or read more Vince Flynn novels). And I don’t have cable, so I never have a chance to see Glen Beck unless I hunt down a video on Fox on the Internet. I’ve seen a few of those videos that I was glad I watched. But I wasn’t aware that Vince Flynn had been a guest on there. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what he would be doing on there. I may have to check it out. Kind of interested in knowing what the ‘real’ man is like.
In all honesty, I doubt my books could hold his interest at this point. “Quenton’s Honor” is about international intrigue from a totally Christian point of view — including supernatural intervention — but I don’t pack the pages with the kind of action that he does. (I will say, in my own defense, that two of the men who read the original manuscript as I wrote it kept pressing me to hurry up and get them the next chapters because they were so into the story they “couldn’t wait for more.” Hopefully that at least bodes well for it still in the future.)
To me the most important thing is that I really do write the novels that I believe God wants me to write, and that He orchestrates the work. I was just talking with Him this morning about the fact that it’s my job to write what He wants, and it’s His job to make sure the right people get hold of it.
Thank you again for taking the time to read the article and comment. I haven’t had much time to spend reading on other sites this past week (some other ministry work and trying to develop a children’s blog to get more Christ-centered stuff out there for kids). But this week I’m looking forward to reading. I’ll be over to spend some time at your “house” then too. I have recommended your site to others as well. Bless you and your work.
Well, yes, Flynn made many appearances on the Beck show…though, my comment of; “He can’t be preparing for another” is because they took Glenn off of Fox…even though his ratings were 131% greater than any other show of its time slot..Fox news or otherwise…So much for fare and balanced…Seems brother Murdoch finally caved to the federal reserve, and “Spooky Dude”, as Beck likes to call him, (George Soros)…new world order stuff, as I’m sure you know…Anyway, I am looking forward to reading your novel, but, I really need to designate time to dedicate to it alone…I know once I start…I’ll not be able to put it down. I couldn’t watch Beck religiously by any means, as it was rather repetitive…But, I have to say, coupled with my own research in the area he was always exposing, yet careful never to actually point to Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation, or any other foretelling, and the fact that they shut him up as they did…He was certainly getting too close for their comfort to exposing truth.
Keep up the good work and “Who Knows?”
I realize, you being a newspaper reporter, you have to be careful in making certain political type comments etc…and especially ones pertaining to who controls the media, yadi yada…as Glenn Beck is always speaking about…But, reading is not censored…yet. You can google probably any and all videos of Vince Flynn’s interviews with Beck…and even manuscripts. Here’s a link to just one of them I recall, and here’s the part where the conversation really got interesting to me:
FLYNN: Weakness and laughable. Keep in mind, you know, this is — first of all, you and I have talked on your radio show before. This is about religion. It is about a struggle within Islam.
And the longer that we continue to coddle Islam and say, “Oh, this isn’t — this isn’t about religion, it isn’t about religion.”
BECK: Wait, wait, wait. Hang on. Separate this. It’s not about religion, Christianity versus Islam. It’s about Islam versus Islam.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,576288,00.html#ixzz1nrk92Poe
Thanks so much. I was thinking about doing just that. I’ll definitely check this out. And I couldn’t help but laugh about the part concerning having to be careful because of being a reporter. I’m not really all that careful — not because I’m fool-hardy — but because I do believe in the truth being made available and in identifying ‘good’ and ‘evil’ clearly and understandably. And it’s not just about politics. I do the same with a number of local public issues as well. I check and double-check facts, and I’m careful to get things absolutely correct — just NOT POLITICALLY correct. But I’ll have to say I might have ended up in some trouble a few times if I hadn’t had editors who were less willing to ‘call a spade a spade.’ They chose not to print some of the more direct things I’ve said — and of course that’s their privilege. Personally, I still think they were being wimps, but, at the same time, they may have saved my neck a time or two.
Thanks again. I’ll check out those programs.
\o/ Praise the Lord…lol I love that…”Just not POLITICALLY CORRECT”