The Universal Joy of Literature

12 Mar

I remember way back to a time I was ten, eleven, in that neighborhood, at least.

My dad had a manual labor job for twenty years.  He left the house every morning by six, so I rarely saw him as he headed out to work.  For some reason though, one morning, I staggered into the kitchen at some ungodly hour and Dad was sitting at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee in front of him, and he was holding a Louis L’amour paperback.  It was an odd scene for me. I couldn’t remember ever seeing my dad read a book.  Dad had dropped out of high school as a sophomore, during the depths of the Great Depression, and never did return.  He signed up to fight in World War 2, got married in 1945, and started the next chapter of his life as breadwinner and family pillar.  To see him reading was inconsistent with everything I had seen before.

I mumbled “good morning, Dad,” and sat down at the table.  “Whatcha reading?”

“Just an old beat-up copy of a western, Bill.  I like to read in the mornings.  It’s a good way to start my day, take my mind off things, that kind of stuff.  I like the quiet of the early mornings, a good cup of coffee, and some entertainment before I head to work.  There’s never any time for reading once my day begins.”

I’ve never forgotten those words.  Even for a man like my father, a person who would never be labeled an intellectual, reading provided entertainment and gave him some peace of mind before his day began. I try to remember that when I write an article or a novel.  What I do matters. What all of us writers do matters.  We entertain.  We provide an escape from the mundane, and we provide an exit strategy from the worries of the day.

Don’t ever think what you are doing is not important. I don’t care if you write novels or you write blogs only, what you do matters.  In this day and age of instant sound bites, purported fake news, and unsupported hearsay, what we do is damned important.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

35 Responses to “The Universal Joy of Literature”

  1. Janine Huldie March 12, 2019 at 2:01 pm #

    Love the memory you have of your dad. And I have to agree with him, as I love reading early int he morning in the quiet when no one is quite awake or up here, too. Happy Tuesday now, my friend 🙂

    • Billybuc March 12, 2019 at 4:17 pm #

      Thank you Janine! I’m a nighttime reader as I’m too eager to get chores done in the early mornings.

  2. Michael Milec March 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm #

    …indeed, it’s extremely important – what you just wrote as well as is important to have a “hard times” perhaps a “Great Depression” which have produced high quality persons, a great role model parents, who out of that little they had they gave us sooo much, much more than we see happening in present generation raised on electronic and a .. isn’t worth to list all the gabage…
    Ahhh You right it’s important what “we” the writers write, every single word, short stories, long stories – many hungry souls are still searching for the elixir of eternity.
    Have a nice blessed and productive day, everyday my friend.

    • Billybuc March 12, 2019 at 4:19 pm #

      Michael my friend, you just summarized it all perfectly…the elixir of eternity! What a beautiful phrase that is. Thank you my friend.

  3. Susan Zutautas March 12, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    Your dad sounds similar to mine. He was in the Canadian Navy during ww2 and he loved to read westerns. Great memories!

    • Billybuc March 12, 2019 at 4:17 pm #

      Great memories for sure, Susan. I cherish them, as I’m sure you do. Thanks for sharing, my friend.

  4. Shauna L Bowling March 12, 2019 at 4:40 pm #

    What a beautiful memory to have, Bill. Little did you know, at that young age, your dad planted a seed. Now your garden is growing and thriving!

    • Billybuc March 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm #

      It’s pretty amazing, Sha, and that’s a fact. I don’t even know why that scene, that morning, stood out for me, but it was important for a reason and I’m better for it. 🙂 Thank you dear friend.

  5. marlenebertrand March 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm #

    Such a beautiful memory. I like the quietness of the morning hours and a quick devotional is all my mind can handle in the morning because the higher the sun rises, the higher my anxiety rises to start my daily activities. The evenings are where I can escape the hassles of the world in a good book. And, thank you for the reminder that if it weren’t for writers there might not be an escape for some.

    • Billybuc March 12, 2019 at 5:08 pm #

      You and me both, Marlene! I am too eager to get “stuff” done in the morning. It is at night that I decompress and relax. Thanks for being here.

  6. Sue Dreamwalker March 12, 2019 at 5:24 pm #

    What a great memories. That quite morning ritual of reading, setting the mood for his day. Those who used their hands as labourers, seldom found time to read. I know my own father was so shattered at the end of his shifts he would fall asleep in his chair after his dinner.
    I found time to read today but did all my chores first 😄.
    And bless all writers for their gift of sparking our imaginations. 😁.
    Many thanks Bill for sharing your gift with us. 💚

    • Billybuc March 13, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

      That was my dad, Sue, falling asleep in his chair after dinner….long, hard hours, day after day after day, so that I would have a better life. Hard to forget scenes like that, my friend.

      Have a brilliant week,and thank you!

  7. Rodric Johnson March 12, 2019 at 5:46 pm #

    What I do matters! That is a timely truth to know after the weeks I’ve had lately. I put the information out there hoping to touch at least one person with it. A few commenters to my articles always give me what it is that I am seeking: To know I made a positive difference in someone’s life no matter how small.

    That is what you did today with your post. I prayed for some comfort and found it in reading your words. Also, your dad was inspiring by example. He found time to center himself amidst all his work responsibility. Manual labor is taxing. He is from the greatest generation, so I expect nothing less. I read my scriptures in the mornings if I do nothing else. Starting my day reading something thought-provoking and contemplative usually helps to focus my mind for what comes next. Modern and ancient writers are changing the world with their words perpetually.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2019 at 1:37 pm #

      That is a perfect summary, Rodric.Thank you for your words. Let’s hope our words influence others in a positive way, my friend.

  8. Sageleaf March 13, 2019 at 1:58 am #

    Big Bro, I don’t think we writers can possibly hear these words enough. It is an incredible calling and yet sometimes we all wonder if the words we share, the thoughts we muse habe any impact in anything greater that the webpage we publish those words on. It was fascinating to read about your father and his reading of L’Amour. Makes me wonder if my dad ever read…though I don’t know if he does or did (other than the newspaper which is okay, too). I really don’t. Might be an interesting thing to ask. Haha. Sending hugs from Cackalack. Wishing you a great week!

    • Billybuc March 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm #

      Isn’t it interesting that you don’t know if your dad read, Lil Sis. I can tell you truly, I was pretty much clueless about what my parents did or didn’t do. I have some very specific memories, but as I sit here now I wish I had paid more attention while growing up.

      Hugs back atcha

  9. Mike March 13, 2019 at 2:40 am #

    I have said it before, your best is found right here at ‘Artistry With Words.’ I never saw my dad read. He did however join a bookclub. I never understood why. It was not until years later, it dawned on me, he was buying them for me. I think I read them all.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

      And that is a great story, Mike, so you would read them…got me choked up with that one, buddy! Did you?

  10. Emese-Réka March 13, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

    What a beautiful way to inspire us, Bill! Thanks for sharing this special memory, and finding a way to encourage us all.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

      Thank you so much, Emese! May you always find comfort and joy in writing.

  11. Lori Colbo March 14, 2019 at 2:27 am #

    Heartwarming story. Louis L’Amour was the best western fiction writer. I read his books for years. You are right, Bill, what we do as writers makes a difference in others lives as well as our own. I am happy your dad had that quiet time with a book each morning.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

      Thank you Lori! You and my dad could have had great conversations about Louis!

  12. phoenix2327 March 14, 2019 at 10:25 am #

    Thanks for the reminder, Bill. It’s so easy to forget that someone out there actually wants to read what we’ve written. We need to quit being so hard on ourselves.

    Have a good day, Bill.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

      I know I need to do exactly that, Zulma! Thank YOU for the reminder as well.

  13. Shannon Henry March 15, 2019 at 7:41 pm #

    I like reading your reflections on life almost as much as I enjoy reading your books, Bill. These little bits of you are part of what makes us all so human, if you know what I mean. My dad worked nights when I was a kid so it was not uncommon for me to see him stretched out on the couch on a leisurely weekend reading.

    • Billybuc March 16, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

      Thank you Shannon! This is actually the type of writing I enjoy most. I’m a storyteller, but I think it is crucial that stories have a meaning and message.

  14. 1authorcygnetbrown March 15, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

    My dad wrote a poem when I was a kid that said, “be careful Dad, the steps you take your son may be like you some day.” Though I was never a poet like him, I will always remember that someone can always be influenced by what we say and do. Sometimes our most valuable heirlooms have nothing to do with how much other people place a value on them.

    • Billybuc March 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

      There is a great deal of wisdom in that statement, Donna! Thank you so much for sharing that.

  15. Andrea Stephenson March 18, 2019 at 5:42 pm #

    I love that story Bill, and that glimpse into a hidden part of your dad. My dad was a plasterer and I never saw him read a book either, but who knows what he was doing before I got up or after I went to bed!

    • Billybuc March 19, 2019 at 1:47 pm #

      Isn’t that interesting, Andrea, so many from that generation did not read for leisure? Or perhaps just the men?

      • Andrea Stephenson March 19, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

        It is interesting, I know my mother read books and I know of other female relatives who did, but I can’t recall the men talking about reading books. My dad was of a totally different generation, even to my mother, he was born in 1927 and I imagine it might not have been so easy for a working class man to get his hands on books in those days.

    • Billybuc March 19, 2019 at 10:36 pm #

      My dad was born in 1919 and yes, Andrea, I do believe it was a generational thing for men of that age.

  16. Shell Vera April 23, 2019 at 5:07 am #

    Every action is so important. Every act of kindness. Every piece of writing. The simplest smile can change someone’s day! Great post Bill!

    • Billybuc April 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm #

      Thank you Shell, and of course I totally agree!

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