Happy Two-Year Anniversary, That’s Classic!

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 all the 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 Drown by 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.

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Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy One-Year Anniversary, That’s Classic!

This time, last year, I was riding a Metra train into Chicago for class and an idea for a multi-media project hit me. I’d kept hearing about blogs, but I wasn’t all that familiar with them. So I decided to create my own and figure out the world of blogging along the way. Problem was, I didn’t have a theme. And all blogs, or at least most blogs, have a theme. Then that hit me, too, in the form of two words: “That’s Classic!” Suddenly I was scribbling ideas for what would later become my Story of the Month and Character Map features. And I guess the rest is “classic” history (pun definitely intended).

As you may know, every month I choose a novel or short story to highlight as the Story of the Month. Then I’ll review and analyze it in the hopes that someone who’s never read it before, or even someone who has, will pick it up and give it a fair read. But this month, I’m going to do something a little bit different. This month, on the one-year anniversary of That’s Classic!, it’s about you and your favorite stories. It’s about hearing from you, the new and loyal fans of That’s Classic! It’s about creating a community of readers (and writers, of course) around the idea of acknowledging and maintaining the legacy of classic literature and contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction. This month, it’s all on you!

In honor of That’s Classic!‘s one-year anniversary, as well as of literature at large, please take the time to consider your favorite–your absolute favorite–work of literature. It can be classic or contemporary, fiction or nonfiction, or short story, novel, or essay. Whatever it is, think about how you first came across it. How you first felt about it. How many times you’ve read it. How you feel about it now. How many people you’ve recommended it to. Why you think anyone should care enough to read it. (That sounds harsh, but it’s important to address.) Think about all that. Take notes if you’d like.

And then comes the fun part, the part where you contact me and get your name and voice on That’s Classic! In just a couple paragraphs, state your name and the name of your favorite work of literature, and address as many of the above prompts as you see fit. Then please send it to me, either by e-mailing me at ashley.thatsclassic@gmail.com or by simply commenting at the bottom of this post.

Also, keep an eye out for That’s Classic! on Facebook. Become a fan, join the group, etc. Sign up for updates on That’s Classic! by entering your e-mail address and clicking “Sign me up!” on the upper right-hand side of this post.

I look forward to hearing from all of you! Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, either by commenting directly on the blog or by sending me an e-mail. And then please send me your favorite story paragraphs. I’m excited to hear them and to have them up on That’s Classic so that everyone can read them. (Plus, it gives you bragging rights.) Thanks!

Published in: on December 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment