On January 21, 1789, WH Brown published POWER OF SYMPATHY, acknowledged as the first American novel. What an accomplishment. I know firsthand the amount of work necessary to blend plot, characterization, pacing, and other elements into a book. At my disposal, I have a laptop computer, a laser printer, a typing chair, reference books, and other aids..
Brown wrote his novel without any of these conveniences. In an era where mere survival took most of an individual's time and energy, that he wrote at all is a tribute to his perseverance and talent. He paved the way for all the great writers to come, including James Fenimore Cooper, Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and hundreds of others.
Where would our country be without books? Where would we be without the imagination and creativity of writers who share their wisdom, insights, and love of the written word with the rest of us?
So, for today, I am grateful for WH Brown and the first American novel.