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The Gachon Herald
Unexpected, surprising stories behind famous booksMasterpieces born at the moment of inspiration
CHOI Hyun-Jin  |  ann528@hanmail.net
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Updated : 2013.12.23  10:08:31
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   Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Wizard of Oz, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Old Man and The Sea. These are the masterpieces that you have probably heard of at least once. Have you ever imagined how these masterpieces were born into the world? A book titled Stories of the Inspiration behind Great Works of Literature introduces us to interesting stories about how these great works were conceived.
  The book is divided into 6 main sections: ‘Flash of enchanting moment,’ ‘Story brings another story,’, ‘Story of his and hers in reality’, ‘Inspiration comes in the darkness’, ‘Great quest for inspiration’, ‘Scenes from my life become a story.’ The sections are composed after each author’s motivation for writing their masterpiece, which cannot be easily approached just by reading the titles. So let’s time travel to find out the stories behind the stories that created these magnum opuses.
  The first book is Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days that was made into a movie. Verne had a habit of keeping pencil and notes nearby when reading a book and the reason for that is he understood that good ideas would come up regardless of time and place. One day, while he was sitting in a cafe reading a newspaper, an advertising copy of a travel agency--Around the world in 80 days---caught his eyes. Then it became the title of his masterpiece. Long distance travel was only possible through train or ship in those days, so the phrase was a true inspiration to fire up his imagination.
  The second is Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, whose story behind the work may be even simpler than you expected. Baum had four sons and used to read nighttime stories to them, and one day he realized that he was revising all the stories while he read them for his boys. He hurriedly sent the boys to bed and started writing down the story that he had just created. The main character‘s name ‘Dorothy’ is the one he saved for his daughter he had not had yet, and ‘Oz’ for the imaginative kingdom was decided on a spur of the moment when he saw the spelled word below the file cabinet while he was telling the story to his children. His long dream to make his children happy finally resulted in the perfect masterpiece as such. Most books in those days conveyed somewhat dark, gloomy atmospheres, but Baum’s Oz built a foundation of stories filled with happiness for modern American children.
  As such, the births of masterpieces may not be as dramatic or special as we expected them to be. Besides the stories above, we can see the great literary works which were inspired rather curiously---by authors’ personal experiences, their visions from dreams, memories of plane crashes, even while one author was rowing the oar and so on. However, what is common among them lead us to remember that we may want to pay attention to what happens around us at every moment, as these authors never let go of the catching moment. Not because they are geniuses, drastically different from us. If there is a difference between them and us that counts, it is that they never ignored THE moment that we may be likely to miss. They take a note and comment, so as not to forget---You might want to emulate that habit yourself. Having your own idea is a crucial strategy to survive modern society, but we tend to just search the internet rather than using our own creativity. People want to take or plagiarize others’ ideas than rely on our own creative energy that can be captured in any moment.
  Why don’t we begin to make a habit of taking notes? There’s a high possibility that any spontaneous idea of ours can be actualized as a creative idea through making memos. Bill Gates is famous for taking notes all the time and he once said that an old, small library in a tiny village made him who he is today. He makes another interesting example that shows us how reading and taking memos lead to the notion of creative idea. Perhaps, right now, any idea that passes by could be the key to a change that transforms your life. Remember, we are also capable of catching THE moment.

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