Everyone reads them at some point and many are so swayed by a good story that they adopt life changes to match. True stories are obviously the most inspiring, and biographies of people as leaders and doers of good are among the best. But there are also fictional stories that can be just as inspiring. Some of renowned authors like Dickens or Mark Twain will live inside your psyche forever.
The question is how many of his stories are made up or simply adapted from life? In the case of Samuel Clemens, who adopted the pseudonym Twain, he lived the life he wrote about. The two classic novels of him’Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ Y ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn‘They are the ones who live in the hearts of those who relate to them.
In my case the novels of john steinbeck did that for me Highlight a particular book ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as his best piece. Here was a family struggling with life’s worst challenges in the aftermath of the Great Depression and then the horrific drought and windstorm that hit the Midwestern US. Their journey led to homelessness, famine and the death of family members.
Perhaps what drew me to this story was the constant struggle that had so impressed me as a child. For me and my generation to understand what depression, homelessness, riots and other things mean, one needs to read this book.
In my younger years, we would pass ‘humpies’ or ‘swaggies’ on the trail with their bundles slung over their backs while a billy was always attached to the end.
Still marching from place to place in search of handouts, this was years after the depression ended, but not long after World War II. He taught me respect for what we call the wretched, and some of histories written about the time reinforced it.
Good stories are those that teach a lesson and warm the heart with something spiritual. As someone with a memory of reincarnation and a link to the Spirit, fiction is something I try to avoid now, but when I grew up, a lot of things came out through such stories that wouldn’t otherwise be known.
Twain and Dickens produced such stories that touched history while throwing you into the mood of the time. The color, even the smells, come to life as one flips through the pages of his books with excitement and a drive to finish it and bring it to the final conclusion. Sometimes the ending is happy but even when it is tragic you know it has affected you.