Following in the Footsteps

We all know of great men and women that inspire us, whose works in any field fill us with awe and wonder. A while ago I asked myself how anyone could continue to write stories or poems when faced with the prospect of being compared with such great works of the past such as Homer’s Odyssey (possibly the archetypal novel itself) or Shakespeare’s plays. And as I saw the faults with my own work and read the magnificence of Milton’s Paradise Lost I soon realised he had it right when he said: “Long and hard is the road that leads up from out of Hell to light,” However just because great things have gone before and because the task of succeeding them is ‘long and hard’ does not mean that great things cannot come again. Homer was one of the earliest writers in the whole world yet we still revere his work, and many incredible epics such as Beowulf and the Nibelungenlied came after his. Recently I began reading a novel called: ‘The Egyptian’ a startlingly inspired book told in an immitation of the epic style, it was written forty or so years ago and apart from being impossible to stop reading it has also filled me with hope for for my own writing. Great things are still being written, imagined and realised, and so though we must always learn and respect the masters of old, we must also have faith in our own ability to create art.

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