Saturday, November 22, 2008

Giving Thanks—Getting Blessings

By Keith Fisher

How do you like the new look? Some of our group felt we were in need of change. Leave comments and tell us what you think.

Over at another blog, I’ve been talking about giving thanks in a series of blogs about Thanksgiving. Since the big dinner is this week, I thought I’d mention a promise. "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold" (D&C 78:19).

Is there a specific blessing you are supplicating God for? Show gratitude to Him by giving yourself to others. I know it’s hard to look past the turkey and stuffing, but there are people in need in your life. If your kids asked you for a dollar and didn’t thank you for it, how eager would you be to reach for your wallet next time?

May all the joy and happiness of the season be yours this year, and may all your associates be blessed because they have known you.

Now,

Just a quick note about last week’s blog then I’ll stop talking about it. I received a comment from Kent Larsen (here are his credentials). It was a great comment. I would like to clarify a few things.

Thanks for sharing Kent. You asked if I remember John Jakes. Yes, sir, I do. In fact, I loved The Kent Family Chronicles when it was new. It is a wonderful treatise on the birth of America and early US history. Im sure you know he is still selling new books.

I'm sorry, if I gave anyone the impression that I want to "throw out classic literature." Nothing is farther from the truth. In fact I want people to learn about, and have access to every book ever written. In the sixties I read Child's Garden of Grass, Breakfast of Champions, Catcher in the Rye and many other books of the time. Have you read Kurt Vonnegut? His books are full of, in your words, . . . "great ideas--social criticism, messages about how society should form itself and act".

Perhaps he’s not a classic author because he is also a little controversial, and not to everyone’s taste.

In my short life, I’ve discovered people are either interested in something or they aren't. I totally agree with you about Dickens. I love the way he talked about people in need. I love Victor Hugo for the same reasons. It never ceases to amaze me, however, how many people love to watch Les Miserables in the play, but they never catch the spirit of it, and they never begin to use their blessings to help others.

The point I’ve been laboring over is not bashing classic literature. The point is that literature shouldn't have to be literary. I want people to stop judging popular fiction by the yardstick of the English teacher. During the time that many of the "so called" classic authors were writing, Mark Twain wrote popular fiction. Plain and simple—you don't have to search between the lines to find the social lessons. They hit you square in the face.

Twain was compared to the authors of his time and found lacking, but many people read his stories because they liked to read them. For whatever reason, they liked them. I don’t like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstien, and I don’t like much of Ernest Hemmingway. I have friends who love Twilight, but I don’t. I have friends who hate The Children of the Promise, and Hearts of the Children series’ but I love them. The point is everyone has different tastes.

As for the question, will reading popular fiction lead to reading the classics? Maybe not, but forcing a kid to eat Green Beans at the dinner table probably won’t teach that kid to love green beans. Likewise, forcing a kid to read classic literature because of the great life’s lessons contained therein probably won’t teach them to love the beauty of it, or even teach them the lessons.

Thanks again for letting me rant, and Thanks, Kent, I like the way you think.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week, and don’t eat too much on Thursday.

3 comments:

Cindy Beck said...

Keith,
Nice blog. You brought out a good point that one way to show gratitude is to give to others!

Tristi Pinkston said...

First off, you asked about the appearance of the blog ...

I don't care for the pink and blue blocks with the green background. That's a little clashy to me.

But that could be just me. :)

As to the blog itself, the classics are an acquired taste. There are some books I think we all should read just to be well-rounded, but everyone does have different tastes and we can all learn different things from what we read. I can't make someone like my kind of reading any more than they can make me like theirs ... which is why it's such a good thing there are so many authors out there, to keep providing a wealth of reading material to the world. We are all given the opportunities to learn the things we need to -- it's just a matter of being open to it when it comes.

Kim said...

First, a comment about the new blog look. A change is always nice. I'm not in love with the green background with red writing--it is kind of festive though!

I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on classic books. I think they have merit. I read a lot, but usually purely for entertainment sake. I like to leave my world behind and escape into someone else's.

And btw, I liked the green bean comment. Am I right? Isn't it you who has an issue with green beans from your childhood?

Keep up the great blogs! I learn something new from you every week.