Leo Tolstoy (9 September, 1828 – 20 November, 1910), was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright and philosopher who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the greatest novelists of all time. He is best known for two long novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Tolstoy first achieved literary acclaim in his 20s with his semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856) and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based on his experiences in the Crimean War. His fiction output also includes two additional novels, dozens of short stories, and several famous novellas, including The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. In addition to novels and short stories, he also wrote plays and philosophical essays on Christianity, nonviolent resistance, art and pacifism.
The Kreutzer Sonata is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, named after Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. The novella was published in 1889 and promptly censored by the Russian authorities. The work is an argument for the ideal of sexual abstinence and an in-depth first-person description of jealous rage.
Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker, social reformer, and Georgist. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal 20th-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr..
One contemporary writer who inspired me to write books is Neil Gaiman. I’ve never had the honor of meeting him personally. However, I’ve read many of his books. To that degree I feel as though I can perceive and share the essence of who he is, as a spiritual being. His books, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book are among my favorites. His books are marvels of mythological wit and wisdom.
Likewise, I never met Mark Twain personally. However, I’ve read nearly all of his books, including the 1,496 page Autobiography of Mark Twain. Through his words he purveys his personal passion and pain; convictions about life, joy and empathetic anguish. Through his words, I discovered the tragedy of his realization, late in his life, that human existence is an ironic comedy of cruelty, stupidity and despair. Laugh or cry: it’s all the same.
I have been asked by several people: “How do you write books?”.
My advise is simple:
1) Live your life and be true to your own observations.
2) Write about what you know and believe in your soul.
3) Read the minds of Great Thinkers through their books.
The two profound and prolific writers I site above are exemplary (as well as hundreds of other literary masters too numerous to name individually), to wit:
4) Think and communicate your thoughts one word at a time in writing. Continue until you die.
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