People say fiction is only make-believe and those who read it want to escape life.
Nonfiction is reality, they say; fiction isn’t. Why waste time?
It’s true that non-fiction describes life accurately. But fiction births—in a way we can embrace it—truth.
In story, we enter the world of the tale through words. We need to use our imagination to comprehend. We must see, hear, taste, touch, and smell what the characters sense. And when we do, the narrative comes alive.
We become the character. We conquer life. We grow.
We gain courage as we encounter difficulties, even impossibilities, with the characters. We see the world in a new way and understand things about life we hadn’t before we picked up the book. We learn we are loveable just as we are although we aren’t perfect. We perceive we are not alone. We comprehend our experience is universal.
And, in the end, we will be okay.
Good storytellers listen to the stories within them and tell its truth. This fiction heals the reader (and the writer). Story is a balm for our wounded lives, a safe place we can go. Again, not to escape the world but to make sense of it.
When a child in a tumultuous home is given the gift of reading and books, he carries a torch to see a bigger and better world. He believes he can conquer the dragons in his own world in his own way.
He wins hope.
When a woman feels isolated in her problems, a story becomes a place she can see she isn’t. Her mind, spurred on creatively by reading, finds solutions she hadn’t thought of before the story.
She gains hope.
Maybe she even sees God.