Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure
Today’s Prompt: For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual.
Prized Possessions and Gifts received
I have a problem with the word ‘things’ in our last assignment, you see, I’ve never been very fond of ‘things’, so I don’t have a favourite thing that’s been with me long enough to value.
I don’t like jewellery, and I have no heirlooms. I don’t keep clothes, or objects, once I’ve used them, either. Of course, there are things which are very useful, and that I’d miss, like my smartphone, or my laptop, but I wouldn’t say I’m emotionally attached to these objects.
The only ‘things’ I value are my books, but I hasten to add, I don’t care much for the books themselves, especially now that of many of them are ebooks. It’s what the book has given me that I carry around with me all the time, as a gift.
I’m not sure I’d be the same person if I hadn’t read the books I’ve read. In fact, I have no doubts that they conditioned the way I think and, of course, the way I write, and live.
I’ve read too many books to even try to mention, so I’ll write about the three books I read as a teenager, and continue to reread to this very day. I reread them so often, that I’m sure they are my most-prized possessions.
The first book is Rebecca, the second is Persuasion, and the third is Jane Eyre. The three are ‘Happy Ever After’ novels, in which the lovers have to overcome serious obstacles in order to finally achieve happiness, but what is the lesson I have carried with me as a precious gift since I first read them as a teenager?
The nameless protagonist in Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and Anne Elliot, fall in love with an ‘ideal’ hero, but they must overcome significant obstacles, including first wives, and parental opposition, in order to achieve their goals. They all improve their station in life, by marrying men (Max de Winter, Edward Rochester, and Frederick Wentworth, respectively) who are able to offer emotional and financial stability, as well as unreserved love and devotion.
I was born several generations after these women, so naturally, my goals are not theirs. I didn’t have to find an ideal husband to live the life I wanted, so what did they teach me? You may suppose these novels are about marrying the ‘right’ man and living happily ever after. Well, that’s not the gift I received.
I learnt two things from these wonderful women. Firstly, perseverance. Never give up on our dreams, and pursue them with honestly and determination. Secondly, second chances will come our way. There is always an opportunity to start again, or to do what we always wanted to do. It’s never too late, and our dreams can come true if you continue to believe in them, and in ourselves.
These novels are not about finding an ideal husband. They are about not being resigned to follow the ‘easy’ or ‘predesigned’ route we can all drift into, and later complain of what could have been, but never happened, because we gave up. They are about believing in ourselves and working towards our goals.
I’m determined and persevering, and a bit of a dreamer, too, and I’m sure that’s due to this wonderful gift I received forty years ago, as I turned the pages of these inspiring books, and I still carry it with me today.
Would you like to read some of the other entries?