It seems I’m writing early today…indeed, it’s almost 9:30 on a Saturday morning. However, this needs to be addressed.
While on Facebook (doesn’t every good story start that way?), I saw Barnes and Noble’s status, asking their fans who they considered to be the best father in literature.
I scrolled through all the answers, wondering what I would say if I thought about it, and also what other people think.
Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Mr. Weasley, from the Harry Potter book series. God, from the Bible. And some fellow from that terrible Twilight series. A Pa Ingalls here and there, or a Mr. Bennett. But that’s it. No more.
Yes, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best books of all time. It’s nice that so many people have read it.
But to me, this shows the sad state of literary consumption prevalent in America today. Harry Potter? Twilight? These are the books we draw inspiration from? No, dear fellow readers, this is fundamentally incorrect and should be remedied at once. Sparkly vampires and wand-yielding wizards, as entertaining as they may be, are not literature. Sorry.
But to remedy this problem we would have to fix the current education system – and as we know, our current government wants nothing to do with that project. It’s up to us – the writers – to start composing quality materials and stop the half-assed writing.
Of course, there will always be writers who write books just so they can become the next JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer. That’s unfortunate. But then there will always be people like Chuck Palahniuk, Erin Morgenstern, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Téa Obreht, who have genuine talent, and whose books will stand the test of time long after the wizards die and the vampires are reduced to dust. Those are the good ones; the ones born with words spilling out of them, the ones who write because they have to, not because they want a multi-million dollar franchise. These are the ones.
Here’s hoping I can measure up one day. I’ll always try.