Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why I Read Fiction, Part I

W, my more than a friend, is a non-fiction fan.  He told me that he and his college friends used to discuss the merits of fiction vs. non fiction.  I of course have a lot of thoughts on this matter.

Here are my first thoughts, taken from a letter I wrote W. one day.

I was in the library before, in happy me mode, reading and I thought once again of why I love fiction. I know I will never win you over, and I don't even want to change your mind. But, I do want to explain myself fully - so that you fully get it. I went to the library and picked up a YA book I've been reading. And it was about a girl with cystic fibrosis, 19, a high school senior facing certainty in the worst form: knowing death is coming.

The reason I love fiction is yes, it allows me to escape. But it also allows me to think from a new perspective. It allows me to walk in another's shoes a la To Kill a Mockingbird.

This book forced me to think about young people facing death.  And I am worried about the degrees next to the names on a resume, the working hours sooner as opposed to later?

I need the perspective fiction forces me to consider. I need to get outside the repeating loops of static noise, the logic that takes me from A to B from Z to C.

Fiction has the power to help individuals gain new understanding. It takes us to another world -- a world that often can be more illustrative than reality.

Fiction is what authors use to entertain readers. But it is also a way for them to react, to test out theories, to satirize and provide sermons on reality. Fiction contains language that dances, stories that enchant, perspective that allows you to realize what really matters.

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