I recently finished reading a book by Daphne Du Maurier, who was one of my favorite authors while I was growing up. In my adolescent years I went through a definite “dark” phase where anything classically gothic appealed to me—with dark, brooding heroes and the innocent yet courageous heroines. I often go back to such classics just to remind myself of how words can fascinate me, how they can be gathered together to paint a picture so vivid in my mind it seems more real, at various moments, than the one I’m actually living in.
Creating such a world is the goal of every writer, from the old time classics to the current day fast-reads. But as I turned the pages of this old genre, I couldn’t help noticing how things have changed in the many decades since Ms. Du Maurier was writing. Mood-setting was slower then, none of this instant-action that, for me at least, was popularized by the first Indiana Jones movie. While I loved those movies, I admit I still enjoy a slower pace now and then. Maybe I’m just getting old!
There are more books than ever to choose from these days, a fact that can discourage writers (how will my book ever get noticed?) but thrills most readers—even if we do have to spend more time looking. There is certainly a book for every taste and mood, the fast-paced contemporaries to the books written in the days when our leisure activities consisted of far fewer choices.
So my thought for the day: give a classic a chance! Let the world around you slow down just a little, and imagine yourself in a time where there weren’t all the pressing instant-gratifications of technology. It may not be a place anyone today wants to live in for long, but when time slows down it can be very refreshing. Try it, you might like it!