This month marks the two-year anniversary of That’s Classic!, and I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with this blog. Over the past two years, I’ve dug through old literature textbooks, piles of literary handouts, and the bowels of my bookcase to bring you what I think are some of the most interesting and noteworthy classic stories. Most of those stories I “discovered” in high school and college English classes, while some I truly did discover on my own. Each discovery came with its own epiphany: the knowledge that I had uncovered some great and sacred story of old. I started this blog with the same amount of passion and joy that I had every time I encountered one of those classics.
I confess that over the past year I haven’t come to the keyboard with the same zeal and enthusiasm I had during the first year of That’s Classic! It isn’t that I love classics any less (I don’t think that’s even possible!), or that I find this blog a chore. Rather, it’s more like I feel that I can’t share allthe best of literature with you because, when I created the “guidelines” for my blog, I limited myself too much. Basically, what it comes down to is that I limited what can be “classic” by the year in which the story was written.
When I started this blog two years ago, I had it in my head that nothing after 1960–or 1970 at the latest–could be included on this site as a Story of the Month. I felt that those stories were still in their infancy, that they hadn’t “stood the test of time,” as I felt all classics must do. But many a time I found myself trying to decide on a Story of the Month, and my mind kept gravitating toward certain titles that, by their dates, were not eligible. What about Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, published in 1992? Or Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, 1990? Or Drownby Junot Díaz, 1996? I was excluding all of those exemplary works simply because they were published after my arbitrary cut-off date of 1970.
These three novels, for example, all have the same fresh and timeless concepts as “tried and true” stories that were written in the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s. They are well-written, with interesting plots and strong characters. They are creative, original works that explore and examine the human condition. So just because an author is still living means that their work can’t enter the canon of classic literature? That’s a pretty steep thing to say. And that certainly is not what I’m trying to say with That’s Classic!
So here is what that means for me: I vow to introduce new (and by “new” I mean post-1970 literature) to this blog. I promise to give them the same value and importance on That’s Classic! as I have for any other work of literature.
And here is what this all means for you: You can rest assured that when you visit That’s Classic! that you will learn about great stories that are invaluable to the literary community, that are written in the tradition of the classic literature. And, if you will be so bold as to follow me here, we can all start to award newer stories the ultimate literary term of merit: classic.