What Do You Consider Iconic?

Friday, August 09, 2019
Recently, Woodstock turned 50.

Recently, I turned 60. And I was at Woodstock. 

Okay, apparently there are thousands of people who claim they were there...  but they weren't really. I certainly wasn't. I was too young, and yet when I fell in love with music, it was CSN&Y. It was Janis Joplin. It was Joni Mitchell. 

(When I was old enough, I saw Joni Mitchell in concert. I basked in an expanse of grass while Richie Haven strummed and begged for "Freedom"" over and over. [He was Woodstock's opening act.] I played a couple of CS&N albums until the ridges almost wore out.) I listened to a Janis Joplin 8-track tape over and over.

I watched a story about Woodstock's 50th birthday, fascinated. It began with an couple of senior citizens who were there. It ended with the iconic photograph that featured them.

The silver-haired woman. The pot-bellied man. They're now Grammy and Poppi, but fifty years ago, they were the couple embracing under the blanket.

That iconic picture made me think of what iconic books have seared through my soul--just like that one scene from a New York farm blazed its way across the world.

I was pleased that some of my favorite books are on the list of iconic books--novels like:
  • The Color Purple
  • 1984
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Tale of Two Cities
  • The Little Prince
  • Ender's Game
Writers are usually readers. Or at least good writers are usually readers. Like a sponge, someone who works on their writing craft soaks up strategies and images and word choice from other authors.

I'd like to think that all the wonderful books I've read help color my writing. At least I hope so. 

Books are iconic because they move masses of people... to tears, usually, or at least to another way of thinking. They arc across more than one generation. Children or adults read them, and then they give them to their children.

I'm working on a couple of manuscript. Do I think it will become thought of as "iconic" once it's published?

No. I just like to think that all the piles of wonderful books I've read help make me into a better writer. Book by book.

What books do you consider iconic? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sioux is a freelance writer and novelist wannabe, along with being a middle school teacher and a dog rescuer. She's currently working on launching a website, but it's not quite up and going yet. (Getting her classroom ready got into the way. School begins--with students--in two days!) Until the website goes live, check out Sioux on her blog.


Myna said...

I like your taste in music! Regarding iconic books, I'd add The Hobbit to the list. My "cool" uncle gave me a copy when I was a kid, and it was the first book I read to my son.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Myna--"The Hobbit" was on the list I saw online, and on my list as well. I read that life-changing book when I was in 7th grade--an incredibly formative year for me--and then dived into the trilogy. (Alas. The books don't have the gorgeous scenery that Viggo Mortensen provides. ;)

It's wonderful that you have/had a cool uncle, and you could pass down a bit of him and a bit of yourself to your son.

Margo Dill said...

I'm going to go a little more modern because I think Harry Potter will be considered iconic in a few more years. How could it not? She brought back reading to the younger generation and inspired so many children's authors to write amazing books--like yours, which will find a publisher soon! :)

Myna said...

You're right about Harry Potter! And I'd also like to see Sioux's work out there. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I completely agree. I devoured each book in the series, beginning it the day it was released and finishing it sometime later that weekend, after vegging out for hours on the couch. In fact, one of those books cost $68 because I didn't think the "No Left turn" sign posted outside of the Borders on Olive was REALLY serious, and made the left turn... and a Creve Coeur cop was waiting for me. I got a ticket... along with (later) a copy of the latest Harry Potter book.

Myna--Thanks for the encouragement. I have lots of stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. But currently, I'm driven by a manuscript I've finished. And gotten edited. And revised. And got re-edited. And revised again. And submitted.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

In books for young readers, I would include: the books of Marguerite Henry, the Meg Mysteries, and the Borrowers. More recent titles: No, David and the Harry Potter books.

In books for adult readers: Phyllis A. Whitney, Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and, more recently, Rebecca Roanhorse. I'll be writing about one of her books in my next post.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Oh Sue--You brought back a flood of memories with just the mention of Marguerite Henry's name. I loved her books. (I was crazy about horses when I was younger.) I loved the Borrowers series too. (I used to make tiny furniture out of cardstock and found objects, inspired by those books.)

Phyllis Whitney... Do I know her? Rebecca Roanhorse--I definitely don't know.

Thanks for making me feel like I was 9 again--for at least a minute.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

You don't see Whitney's books as much as you used to. Or maybe I saw them because my mother and grandmother read her? Yes, I come from a family of readers.

Mary Horner said...

Two I've read recently are The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, and This Boy's Life, by Tobias Wolff, which I would add to that list. I would also like to read your book!

Nicole Pyles said...

Oh iconic books! Ahh, oh man I hope not to offend any literature that may be listening, but I would say...

Velveteen Rabbit
Vanity Fair
The Heart is a lonely Hunter
Tree grows in Brooklyn
Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit

To name a few :) I'm sure I'll think of more ina hour and feel bad i didn't mention them lol

Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--Me too. My mom loved to read.

Mary--When I was in Tulsa a couple of summers ago, I visited the house where the movie "The Outsiders" was made. It's being (or was made, in the interim) into a museum. The book is a classic with kids, despite how old the novel is.

Nicole--You made me think of books I haven't thought of in a while, including "The Velveteen Rabbit." (Have you read "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane"? If not, you should. It made me sob, and is like a chapter version of "The Velveteen Rabbit" but with much more plot.)

I've never heard of "Vanity Fair" but looked it up.

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