Is it Worthwhile?

Is it Worthwhile?
Jeanne Dams

As Easter approaches and my thoughts are more on the cross than the computer, I go into one of my periodic episodes of angst, wondering if, in the cosmic scheme of things, what I do—what we all do—is of any real value. I’m not a great writer. None of my books will survive more than a few years, none will ever be found in any list of the hundred (or thousand, or million) best books ever written. None will ever be in the syllabus for any literature course anywhere. They are ephemeral, meant to entertain and then be forgotten.

Except—there are passages I’ve written that may occasionally give someone pause for thought. I do try to write honestly and to insert now and then any small nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up in nearly seventy-two years on this earth. I am a woman of faith, and I try to make that plain in my books, without preaching. I believe that most people are basically good and trying to do their best, sometimes against formidable odds, so those are the people who inhabit my boos. And while I understand that there’s also a sizeable minority of folks who are out for what they can get, looking out for number one, well—I do need villains in my books, too.

And as I sit and ponder, I also think about the perhaps-ephemeral books I’ve read over the years that have become part of my mental furniture. I think about the simple, but often profound, insights offered by Alexander McCall Smith in his wonderful books. I think about the bits of Dorothy L. Sayers that I can quote by the yard, ideas that have enriched my life. I think about Carolyn Hart’s plots, that she refers to as parables.

And I think of the times a book by one of you fellow bloggers has given me a respite I badly needed when life was sort of tough. Or the times I received the great gift of an unexpected belly laugh—or a good cry.

Maybe that’s enough to aspire to—to write what I can write, as best I can, and hope that someone, somewhere, will find in what I’ve written something they need just then. Let those who are able write deathless prose, and more power to them. Me, I’ll stick to my faultier last and not worry about it too much.

May you all have a blessed Easter/Passover/Spring… whatever you celebrate…and keep writing.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi, Nancy,

    This is fascinating! These were truly women of great courage and conviction. In Western society today’s women do have rights to vote and keep their own property. However, in much of the world, women still live in fear and are regularly abused.

    • Thanks so much for reading this, Jacquie. I honestly don’t think I’d have their courage in the face of so much adversity, but who knows what one would do if challenged–and desperate?

  2. Jeanne: I think someone left a message for me on your blog. But ah, technology! But I do want to tell you how much I like your insightful, thoughtful blog. I often wonder myself why I’m writing–and reading truly great novels like Austen’s or Dickens’–and why the world needs mine. And doesn’t, of course! Yet we have to send our frail word-kites into the air, don’t we–and have our say. Somehow an imperative as well as an indulgence.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I do consider it an imperative. My books–frail things, indeed, but mine own.

      Jeanne M. Dams Author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries

  3. Hi, Jeanne, I really enjoyed your blog–as i have enjoyed your books over the years. I have Jeanne Martin on my book shelf. Yes, I picked up on the subtle faith in the background and always found it an encouragment. We just do what we can do, but any sending of the Light has to be important. Have a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter. Donna Fletcher Crow

    • Thank you so much for that. Any encouragement is important–to me, too. And I wish you the same Easter blessings.

      Jeanne M. Dams Author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries

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