Hi! J here. I bet you took a look at that title and thought to yourself…What!? This is supposed to be a blog about writing… Fear not, intrepid readers, fear not.
Let me show you a tiny snapshot of my life: I have a house, children and pets. The other day, after a stretch of damp rainy days, I noticed that my house stinks. Like pee. We have a puppy, an Alpha dog and twin boys who’ve been potty training for months. Welcome to Fall in the House of Urine.
As torturous as being in the House of Urine is, I thought the phrase had a nice ring to it, but couldn’t think of why that might be so. A bit later it dawned on me. Fall in the House of Urine sounds kinda like The Fall of the House of Usher…at least in my head. And that got me to thinking about the classics. Good ones and bad ones.
As an English major in college, I read a lot of literature, but most of it was crap. Or at least not stuff I liked. George Elliot – phbfft. Hawthorne – love the ideas, can’t get past the language. Dickens – love the stories but too many Victorian Era pop culture references… I have to keep a finger in the end notes just to follow along. And don’t get me started on Mary Shelley – I had to read that stinking book in no fewer than 4 different classes! (I’m not even linking to it!) Seriously, all you English professors out there…out of 4000 years of writing, why do you all pick Frankenstein?! It’s a terrible tale…a doctor builds a guy out of dead parts, reanimates it and then is happy the monster runs away for 1/2 the story. I hated that book; the movies were better.
But for all the crap, I found a lot of stuff that I did like. Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare’s comedies and histories (loathed the tragedies!), Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, O. Henry. And of course, Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve never actually read The Fall of the House of Usher (the PBS movie scared the piss out of me as a kid!) but I’ve read lots of his other stuff. Creep-o-saurus Rex! That guy was seriously ahead of his time. Poe is like Alfred Hitchcock, just born 100 years earlier. Can you imagine if Poe was alive today? Stephen King‘s empire might be in trouble!
But for all my rantings, of course we have to be exposed to lots of stuff to find the things we like. And as somebody pointed out to me a few posts back, we don’t all like the same things. There’s probably one of you reading this thinking, what does this Monkey girl know? George Elliot Rocks!
Today’s Secret: Everything ties back to a good story. Put your stories out there because you might be my next George Elliot or my next Poe. Somebody will love what you wrote and somebody will hate it. And that’s OK.
Today’s Question: What’s your favorite classic? What do you like about it?