“A timeless story is a great story told by a great storyteller. It must be filled with a character or characters that come alive. The story must raise our hopes, increase our fears, make us laugh, make us cry, cheat death, bring new life, teach us, touch us, give us a reason to cheer for the good guy and root against the bad. It must take place in our imagination. It must be carried with us long after it is read. It must imbed itself in heart, mind, and memory. It must be broadcast to others or it will fade. There are so many stories that are timeless that have been forgotten.” Phil Zuckerman, founder of Applewood Books
What a wonderful statement about story — it lifts the heart, doesn’t it?
Applewood Books is a dynamic, independent publishing house founded by Phil Zuckerman in 1976 to help make sure that timeless stories about America’s culture and history aren’t lost and forgotten. What a precious gift!
These words bring to mind the timeless stories I’ve read and loved. What makes them so special? I think Phil Zuckerman says it all. A timeless story offers:
Characters that come alive: Just think of those characters who’ve made a huge impression on you. Characters who seem so real you feel you know them. Characters who make you think about yourself — who you are and who you want to become.
Emotional Energy: As Phil says so well, “The story must raise our hopes, increase our fears, make us laugh, make us cry, cheat death, bring new life, teach us, touch us.” How true! We read fiction or a biography or any tale well told mainly because we want to be moved and touched deeply — we want to feel more alive and emotionally energized.
Visual Energy: A great story unfolds in our imagination vividly. It compels us to visualize what’s happening, to enter into its world and to become part of that world while we’re reading and even afterwards.
Lasting Memories: A great story doesn’t just fade away after we close a book. It has a life of its own and lives on. It becomes part of us. As Phil says, it must “imbed itself in heart, mind, and memory.” Just think of stories you read as a child or a teenager how they’ve stayed with you.
Timeless stories — what a gift they are to the world! Bravo, Applewood Books for helping to keep them alive by publishing them! Let’s strive to bring more inspiring stories to readers everywhere as we all write on.
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