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What Do You Consider Iconic?

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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 a 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.

(C) Copyright

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