Today, November 1st, is National Author’s Day, a time to celebrate favorite authors whose works have had an impact on the lives of their readers. Writers have not only influenced their readerships, they have also influenced culture and shaped history.
National Author’s Day was created by Nellie McPherson to show her appreciation of fiction writer, Irving Bacheller. Ms. McPherson was president of the Bement, IL Women’s Club, in 1928. During World War I, while recovering from an illness, Nellie wrote a fan letter to Mr. Bacheller for his story, Eben Holden’s Last Day A’Fishin. When he acknowledged her letter with an autographed copy of another story, Nellie came up with the idea of a special day to promote authors. She submitted her suggestion to the General Federation of Women’s Club and by 1949 November 1 was recognized as an annual observance by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
I am delighted to discover this holiday, and take this opportunity to show appreciation for some of my favorite authors. I am a reader and have been all my life. Many, many books and authors have influenced me, moved me to laughter and to tears, transported me to another time, culture, or place, and transformed my life. Here is a very brief, and by no means complete, list of authors who have greatly impacted my life.
JRR Tolkien – Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. No surprise here. By now my own readership knows how much I appreciate this amazing author. Tolkien’s novels have led me to journey deep within, as his characters journeyed through Middle-Earth. I have come more and more into who I am, even as Aragorn, Arwen, Bilbo and Frodo have discovered who they are. With them, I have faced my fears and grown through battles and disappointments. Fictional tales may be stories about made up characters, but the truths contained within are very real.
Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love. I picked up this book after watching the movie by the same title. I so identified with Liz. Oh, our circumstances weren’t exactly the same, and I didn’t travel to Italy, India and Indonesia for a year, although that sounded wonderful! However, I did understand her need to discover who she was and what she had to offer to the world, as that was my need as well. I had chosen to believe what everyone else said was true about me and live under the expectations of others. My journey didn’t take me out of the country, but it did take me into the unexplored country of my heart and soul, my gifts and my desires. Liz has recently come back, strongly, into my awareness. I am appreciating her insights, as posted on her Facebook page, and reading Eat, Pray, Love again.
Byron Katie – Loving What Is, I Need Your Love Is That True?, A Thousand Names for Joy. I only began reading Byron Katie’s books a little over a year ago, although I’ve been familiar with her works for several years. The writings of BK have helped me to question the thoughts I have and the stories I tell myself that I create around those thoughts. Katie has a process called The Work that asks four simple questions and offers a turn around statement, for the thoughts that I latch onto and begin to believe are true. I have experienced so much freedom in my mind and in my life thanks to the understanding that most of the stories I have created, about myself and others, are not true.
I am grateful for these three authors, and many more, who by following their hearts, and their passions, have infused my own heart with courage and joy and have given me a sense of direction for my journey. That is no small feat. I honor all those who create with words, birthing their thoughts, stories and insights into life and sharing their gifts with the world, and with me. I am inspired.