Why is literature relevant? You could answer that question for yourself and not read past this sentence because IT’S BORING! I heard that from many students over many years until we looked at so many works in fresh light: how it applied to them, personally. Oh, they didn’t always know that’s what we were doing, but it was always my intent.
However, literature isn’t only about the way we look at it; it’s also about the way it looks at us and our universe. Yes, literature looks at us, at our life, at the people, objects, events and gives us new insight into life itself.
It does! I could and would gladly delve into thousands of works, but let’s use Walt Whitman again, just for an example to prove my theme today.
In “Song of the Open Road” (Section 3) Walt writes this:
You air that serves me with breath to speak!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape!
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.
Whitman looks at air and common objects and light and sidewalks (the paths by the roadsides) and recognizes something that we would rarely, if ever, pause and consider. They all have their own energies, energies of life that we can sense because we ourselves are energy, but he sees that they are full of “unseen existences” that he deeply appreciates, creating a spirit of thankfulness. He delights and rejoices in something like a sidewalk. A sidewalk! Really?!
Yes, he walked in the fellowship of his heart and saw what most of us don’t see; that insight is the value of literature. It can help us tune into heart vibrations, the energies of life. Now, this is really general because many genres and periods of literature approach life from a variety of viewpoints.
Sometimes, when people aren’t in touch with their hearts, literature can help them. There is a mass of people “in the middle who are the lost souls, those who have difficulty truly appreciating and enjoying life, difficulty noticing the beauty and patterns of nature and joining in the full flow of this universe of abundance” (from my upcoming novel The Fellowship of the Heart).
Whitman had no lack of appreciating and enjoying life. He knew the fellowship of his own heart and partook of the fullness of life, evident in his poetry.
How about you? Does literature speak to you? Does your soul create literature, maybe not the written kind but the literature of a thankful heart when doing something as simple as looking at a sidewalk?
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!