Stories can be found everywhere. When a good friend of mine once said, “The power is in the story,” he was referring to everything from history to gossip, a poem or a memory, a song or a child’s laughter. Everything we do in life is the essence of story, and thus, essential to the beauty of literature.
We all know that stories pre-date language, especially that of the written variety. Stories are a means of connecting, and human beings, as solitary as our physical bodies might be, long for connection. Literature connects us. Sharing literature with others, either by writing, reciting, or recommending, is a powerful form of communication that is a brick in the bridge that brings us together.
Literature is not for the great writers alone, nor is it for passionate readers alone. Literature is expression, and we all thrive on expression. We all thrive on the wonders of going places that no one else can go. If you and I read the same passage from the Songs of Solomon, our individual journey is completely unique, and that is extraordinary. If a high schooler writes an eight-line poem, those eight lines are unique to him or her on a planet of seven billion people. Is there anything more beautiful?
Words, songs, and the kinetic motion of the seas are all forms of literature, all beautiful and meaningful. Yes, we think of literature as it manifests in the written word, but whatever serves as a bedrock for our feelings, our emotions, or our intellectual stimuli can, if your imagination is true, expand our horizons on great literature and open our eyes to absolute beauty.
Everything in our world, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, painful or pleasureful, can be expressed in words or in song or in the magic of the wind in the trees. Finding the beauty of literature is a simple matter of exploration, whether it involves a haiku or a fantasy novel, the story behind a fallen bridge or the imaginings of a teacher leading her students to ever expanding horizons. If you’re open to the world created by you the writer or you the reader, then the path to beauty is completely open to you.
The beauty of literature is much like that of the blank canvas. It’s not for someone else to paint the picture of what this story means or that story represents. The journey is yours to take, and the interpretation, if any is needed, comes from your head and heart, your soul, your unique view of the world.