Table Of Contents
We have two articles today. One related to Thanksgiving and another from out of nowhere. We also included some short things for you to think about.
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What did you do over the Thanksgiving break?
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You are in a room all alone. Oh, and there is a bear in the room too.
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“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter.” — Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
What do you think of this quote?
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Do Words Have Energy? - Op-Ed Piece
As I was on my way to work, driving in my car, the song finishing playing was “Jumping Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones. The DJ jumped in by talking about how the Stones music has great energy. That is why he loves them so much. Every time he hears them, they give him energy only they can give. I paraphrase the man with a better voice than me, but the point is still the same. He used the word energy to describe their art rather than specific notes, patterns, or techniques they used in their songs. Why? He is a music guy, after all, yet he and most fans of the band would agree that the counterparts to the Beatles have an energy to their sound that others don’t. Are they the best musicians? Not really. Is Mick Jagger the best singer? No. He is far from acaedmically trained in the art. Is Keith Richard the best guitarist? No. I know many who name others ahead of him. So what gives? (And yes, I acknowledge there are other band members to the Stones) Why do we bring up a non-descript vague word when we talk about a famous band?
Energy? Do they make music with great energy? What the hell does that even mean?
I, of course, related this question quickly to my own field, writing. Does anyone ever say that about a certain writer? “Boy, that writer’s works have great energy!” If it is said, I never heard it.
So there are two questions we have to address here:
First, does writing not have energy? If it doesn’t, what does that even mean?
What is the closest thing we can find in literature to a writer producing works with great energy?
I have already answered the first question. No. Writing doesn’t have energy. Nobody picks up an author for the great energy in their words. I mean, I feel stupid even writing this because that is how little that phrase is uttered (never)
So we know that the energy we feel when we hear a song is not to be found in reading a book… what does that mean exactly? Aside from the lack of comments readers make of such an observation, there is nothing to my knowledge since the music industry is unclear about what they say when they bring up the word energy. Literature doesn’t have to explain their meaning since they don’t have it.
So there is no energy in books, and the significance is that readers will never feel the same way towards their books that listeners do of their music.
Now let’s move to the second question about something in literature that can be closest to music having energy.
I have a few examples here:
Example 1 - Shakespeare: Let’s start with the granddaddy of them all. The Bard is not renowned because of his great stories, although, yes, they are great, but how he used the language. He mastered the art of expressing feeling and emotion through words.
Take a look at some insults and quotes to get an idea of what I am talking about here.
“Thou heinous, foll-fallen, cullion!” – William Shakespeare
“Thou covetous, boiled-brains, whoreson!” – William Shakespeare
“Thou fobbing, base-courtbat-fowling, rampallian!” – William Shakespeare
“Thoughts are but dreams til their effects be tried.” – William Shakespeare – The Rape of Lucrece
“But now I liv’d, and life was death’s annoy,
But now I died, and death was lively joy.” – William Shakespeare – Venus & Adonis
“She that is wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail;” – William Shakespeare – Iago – Othello
There is imagination and creativity in every word he writes. He didn’t really write words, as much as writing life on a page for us to experience.
The expansive vocabulary and poetic charm make Shakespeare’s words timeless because you don’t need to read the story to appreciate them. Yes, reading the story adds depth to them, but his many quotes would be great if just compiled together randomly.
Does this count as energy? I don’t know. But I have heard people say they like Shakespeare because of his use of the language, which is the closes I can come up with.
Example 2 – Poetry
The second instance in which readers may witness the same feeling that listeners do for energy is poetry. More specifically, metered poetry that rhymes. The guy I think of for this example is none other than Theodore Geisel or Dr. Seuss, to readers. He wrote in meter. Believe it or not, those silly sentences you read as a kid had a structure.
Here is an example of the meter you will see from him.
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
Did you catch the flow to the meter Seuss used? Notice the emphasis on words, brains, head, feet, shows, steer, and choose. He purposely wrote this way, knowing that certain words are emphasized in his metered poetry.
Does this count as writing having something equivalent to energy? I don’t know entirely. But, if we can’t find anything conclusive here, which seems to be the case, then we can, at least, use this thought process to understand better how we appreciate the very art we love.
Many great artists are celebrated throughout their years. We sing their songs when we hear them on the radio, quote their insults and great lines from their centuries-old books, and enjoy the rhymes of their children’s books. We love these artists, for their expression in their art becomes a part of who we are. Yet, when we are asked about our interest in them, we give only a general concept.
Oh, they are good because of the energy they give off. Like that makes any sense.
Thanksgiving Is A Bad Holiday - Op-Ed Piece
As I get myself ready for the coming vacation days I receive from my jobs; I think of the one thing many of you have feared too. “There is no way they can have me work on that day, right? There’s no way.” Luckily for me, my bosses have what we would consider a soul and are not working for the Prince of Darkness, even though the lack of money in the paychecks may suggest otherwise.
I am off on Thanksgiving and the day after that. (Does that day even have a name? What do we call it? Referring to it as the Day After Thanksgiving gives it an ominous tone, which I’d prefer to avoid. People will start to question what happened on Thanksgiving if there is a day after it.)
Like most, the first thing that came to mind for my holiday activities was non-activity, sleep.
Boy, it really shows where we are as a society when we all ask to sleep on our days off more than perform interesting acts. I realized quickly that I couldn’t sleep on Thanksgiving in that the holiday requires interaction between family members. I can’t have the turkey as I sleep all day! Unfortunately, to eat good food for the holiday, I must deal with my family for a few hours and noticeably sacrifice sleep to be updated on their life events, which I didn’t know about before then. For example, Johnny is now trying to learn the piano. And my brother-in-law got a new job in a field I couldn’t recognize the name of. It sounded business related, though.
Everyone agrees with the strangeness and stress of the Thanksgiving holiday. We all would rather be home, in our pajamas, sitting on the couch watching a random show, and strolling through our Instagram feed. Those who don’t want to be idle participants in mindless technological tasks would like to sleep until their stomach says it is time to get up. Thanksgiving is a time to be with your family and be thankful for what you have. Yet, none of us want to be with our family then and miss out on very-needed sleep. But we all accept this strange sacrifice. We know that by the time the holiday is over, we will have eaten too much, and have traveled to so many houses, that we can make a map of the route, and yet we still do all of it. Why? Are we all crazy and need to seek help? I am not against that theory entirely; the more realistic answer is that we agree the time spent with the family, however, exhausted you are when you have it, is worth having. How often are you going to see that cousin of yours from Florida? Or how about the side of the family that you barely talk to? Only on Thanksgiving and, if you are lucky, Christmas. That’s about it for the family that you care about. And why does this happen? We all have lives to live and jobs to do, and we move away from each other, not because of the lack of interest but time. As a result, we can’t see each other as much as we used to or as much as we would like. Thanksgiving is one of those few instances where we can make up for lost time (If you are keeping track, time has two wins on you, taking your sleep and family. If it takes any more of it, you will be broke, so beware.)
After I plan the day’s event with my family, which is as simple as asking my mother whose house we are attending, I then wonder about the original question I had of my workplace, “They can’t make us work on Thanksgiving, right? Scrooge would do such a thing.” I stop myself and notice the error in my thoughts (aside from the sentence fragments). Scrooge is in a story about Christmas, not Thanksgiving. That is not a fair point to make for Thanksgiving.
There must be a notable Thanksgiving book that conveys the message of the beloved holiday. There must be. As the sky is blue, and I am alive, Thanksgiving can’t be this popular national holiday, and no books have written of it. Halloween has a bunch of literature. Christmas does. Heck, even St. Valentine’s Day covers the romantic side of life. So why can’t I think of any great Thanksgiving books? The answer; there are none.
Thanksgiving has accomplished the impossible, like King David defeating Goliath so many years ago, in that it is popular enough to have the country be off on the day of the holiday and the day after it, and yet there are no notable pieces of literature about that very holiday. Just to give you perspective, on the TV, I already saw a few scenes from Christmas movies, and on the radio, I already heard the Grinch song. So what happened to Thanksgiving? Why do we all love it so much, have days off because of it, and yet there is no genre of literature for the event?
My theory is that Christmas took over the message that is what we associate with Thanksgiving. To be thankful for what you have and to be grateful for the loved ones in your life.
As Dr. Seuss said, “Christmas day shall always be, as long as we have we.”
Where is that great Dr. Seuss Thanksgiving book everyone reads as a kid? Did Dickens even celebrate the holiday? Did Elvis ever even sing a song about Thanksgiving? No. They put the message of Thanksgiving into their Christmas-related stories, and so did everyone else.
Once the message of Thanksgiving was passed over for Christmas, that leaves us with nothing more than a few turkeys and football, which is, let’s just say it, not as appealing as learning that the true meaning of Christmas was in you all along, and no matter how lost or isolated someone can be in our world, with love from friends and family, they too can change.
Christmas inspires people to be better because it gives them hope that the keys to a good life are things many can have, regardless of age, gender, or race. I never heard of someone being a better person because of a lesson they learned from a Thanksgiving story, even though that holiday has as much goodness in it as any other holiday.
I am left to wonder why hasn’t an author written a few Thanksgiving-related novels for the holiday to capitalize on the public’s interest. (If I was really clever, I’d be that author, but I am busy with stuff. Remember that whole thing earlier about time taking my sleep and family? Looks like we can now give time some books about Thanksgiving too)
Every year is the same thing with Thanksgiving, we all see as much family as possible despite our sleeping status, and we all reflect on how great it is to be with family, but none of us think of one particular part of the holiday; a story that captures it all.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers. We hope you enjoyed the holiday, and we thank you for the support.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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