Every person's life is worth a novel (that was the title of a book on writing I read a number of years ago). But, for readers like us, a novel marks the greatest moments of our lives as well. You must remember the first book you ever read. And, then, through the years, you've likely marked many of your most memorable times by the associated novel or book or poem. Or, perhaps, your life has been more about the literature you've read after the fact--that reminds you of those moments in your life. Perhaps you recall those passages that "found" you--like revisited memories--to offer some meaning or epiphany for your life experience.
Sometimes the parallels between literature and life become more concrete. We may be inspired to write about it... just like William Deresiewicz.
In her review of William Deresiewicz's book, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, Michelle Wiener extols upon the joys of finding another Jane Austen fan (and not just any fan, but one who marks the passage of years--his life--by the many parallel he finds with Jane Austen's famous novels. How have they shaped him? And, then--by extension--how have those novels shaped you?
Think about it! What did Pride and Prejudice give you? Did it teach you to learn from your mistakes, or something about growing up? Did it make you think about your place in society? What about Mansfield Park, Austen's famous Cinderella tale? Do you have a similar rags-to-riches story to tell? Or did it teach you about relationships? Perhaps, you were more fascinated by the tenacity of a single young woman, as she attempts to make her way in the world.
Did you discover a new world view from Emma, or about relationships from Persuasion? With the plots and subplots, themes and meanings--Jane Austen's novels may have pushed and pulled you in a number of different directions... as with so many other great writers and their masterworks.
Great books seep into our lives as we read them. If we let them, books return to us again and again, offering solace or wisdom. They stand as reflections of the great influencers of the past, but also as signposts for the future. Through us--through the way they affect our lives and our reading--the great works of literature will continue to mark us and become an inextricable part of the stories we must tell...
How have books affected you? What's your literature-inspired story?