This week, I became obsessed with the desire to write an Important Book. Time has proven that I can write a book...several, in fact...and readers like them, and in some cases, love them.
But does this make any of my books Important?
I think not. But what kinds of books become Important? And why?
Books of the Bible: surely these are Important Books. Each one was inspired by an unusual or mystic event that eventually changed the history of the world and mankind. Each book was conceived by either a witness to a miracle, a prophetic dream, a dramatic experience, or a religious revelation. Probably no one today could write books such as these: Exodus, The Four Gospels, Revelation, The Psalms, Proverbs.
The Great Books of the Western World: The original editors of the series chose three criteria for inclusion: Relevant to contemporary issues, important in historical context, and must be a part of "the great conversation about the great ideas." A few examples are: Works by Aristotle, Plato, Virgil, Homer, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx.
Children's Books--A children's book titled, what else but The Important Book, written by author of Good Night, Moon, Margaret Wise. This simple book is about learning the importance of objects: a ball (it's round), a box (it's square), etc. So simple, I could have written this book. But...I didn't.
Classics: Almost everyone would agree the books now categorized as Classics are Important Books. To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Miserables, The Old Man and the Sea, Little Women, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Gatsby, Little Women, Moby Dick, Lord of the Flies--all these will live on.
Best Sellers: Some all-time best sellers might be labeled as Important Books. The most important have sold more than 100 million copies: A Tale of Two Cities, The Lord of the Rings, The Little Prince, The Hobbit, Then There Were None. (To Kill a Mockingbird? Nope.. not even close to 100 million.)
Inspirational or Motivational: The Purpose Driven Life, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Power of Positive Thinking, The Road Less Traveled.
I see that I have a very high mountain to climb. How can I possibly compete with any of these Important Books?
Well, I can't. I don't know one person in the realm of all my acquaintances in my entire life who has written An Important Book.
So, where does that leave me? In the dust, so to speak. Now I don't feel so much like a failure. Thinking I might possibly write something Important should just be a thought to put away.
On the other hand, how many common people never thought they'd do or write something Important? But they did? Maybe the book or feat wasn't way up there with Aristotle or M. Scott, M.D. who wrote The Road Less Traveled, but it still turned out to be good enough to be on the NY Best Sellers List.
We don't need to reach for the moon, but we might want to consider reaching a little farther than we have so far.
My goodness, look at me. I have inspired myself! I'll just wait for a prophetic dream, a revelation of some sort, or perhaps a miracle. And then, get out of my way. I might write an Important Book.