Janet Sumner Johnson
About Author Visits Blog Books Events Contact Press Kit

crown of thorns

The Worth of a Thing


29, 2011 |

Filed in:


Our next stop in Paris was St. Chapelle.

 Yeah, I didn’t get a great picture of it. I’m hoping you’ll forgive me.

Anyway, this little chapel was built near Notre Dame in 1246 by Louis IX (the pious Louis). Louis commissioned this chapel to hold some holy relics he’d purchased—namely the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross, as well as a splinter of the cross.

Were they the real deal? Obviously Louis IX thought so, because he paid 135,000 livres for just the crown. Now, I can’t tell you how much that is in today’s money, but to give you a comparison, he paid a mere 40,000 livres to build the entire chapel.

Once you go inside, you’ll find that the pillared walls are merely there to support the endless stained glass windows. When the sun hits just right, the effects are amazing!

My pictures really don’t do it justice.

So my writing analogy for the day? Well, maybe this will apply to life-in-general, too.

It would be easy to assume that the worth of St. Chapelle is in the glamorous and showy stained glass windows. But Louix IX never saw it that way. Its value was as a shrine to two holy relics that might easily have been overlooked by most people. Items that were rustic and plain. Items that were simple. But not common. Definitely not common.

As writers, we sometimes want to base the value of our work on outward facts . . . how many requests we get for our manuscript; how many books we sell once we’re published; how many fan-pages are dedicated to us; how many people tattoo our mc’s name onto their bicep. Well, you get the idea.

But I don’t think worth comes from any outside source. I think that worth comes from the sweat and tears we put in. From our hard work. Though the stories we produce may be the most horrid things ever written (hopefully not, of course!), they have value for what we gain from them. For what we become from having written them.

I grew up hearing that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And though I groaned every time I heard it as a kid, I embrace it now. I am not the same person I was before I started writing. I see the world differently, and I appreciate things I wouldn’t otherwise appreciate. I have gained skill and insight. I have gained respect for others’ work . . . no matter what it may be.

Even if I never get published, my time spent writing is not wasted, and neither is yours.

Speak up:



, , , , ,