Saturday, May 10, 2008

Someone I knew said that fiction was a waste of time. I was a guest in his home, so I had to be tactful. But that was one of the most oafish, small minded comments I've heard in my life. Fiction is how a whole dimension of the human spirit stays alive.
The quote was "A good book is the life blood of a precious literary spirit." It was in the front of a poetry book. Flowery prose, but I think it's quite true. Every human society I've heard of has a culture of story telling. It might be verbally recorded, stored in human memory instead of written down. Some cultures, such as the Australian Aboriginals, did not have a system of writing. The stories were memorised and taught. In early Europe, bards or minstrels made a life's work out of learning stories and telling them at gatherings. It may be spoken rather than written,but it is still a body of lore that they kept and shared. Writing makes it easier to keep these stories. The stories may have a moral, like Aesop's fables. They may be intended to inspire, like the hero myths about Hercules, William Tell, Robin Hood, or Davy Crockett. Some are intended to teach spiritual lessons. Or stories might be part of a body of spiritual belief. The story of David and Goliath is part of history, also treated as a stand-alone story.
Someone pointed out that stories, like films, let the reader experience things in their imagination that they cannot in real life. It broadens the mind. It might provoke thought, too. Sometimes the written word has changed history. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in protest against slavery, and arouse enough feeling to demand change. Slavery was abolished. Beecher Stowe's novel was not solely responsible but it made a difference. Books of fiction can inspire, as well as entertain.
Anyone is entitled to choose their own interests. Reading fiction is not what everybody wants to do to relax. But to those who like it, nothing else will do. Fiction, stories, are part of the mind's life blood.

11 comments:

Shan said...

By the way, I forgot to thank you for referring me to Outcasts...I will see if I can track down a copy.

Rebekah Walton said...

I am going to read your book if I can, I love writing stories too. I agree with you fiction keeps us alive. I was just doing areport on Harriet Stowe for my English class. I had to read the first 2 chapters of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Oh, and here is one of my stories:http://www.writerstoyou.com/books/readonline.asp?bookid=10219&locid=9802 I write stories too. I wish you and your 5 kids a blessed year. God Bless you guys, Your sister in Christ, Rebekah. P.S.Thank you for the comment.

Aubra said...

"Fiction, stories, are part of the mind's life blood." - I like that a lot. Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!

Marie said...

Thanks for telling me about Outcasts.I'll read it.
I think your thoughts about fiction are very true.

Caroline said...

andrew,

I am one of five kids! I couldn't agree with you more about fiction. My chaplain in college always said, "words create realities." And I suppose that's interesting if we apply it to words of fiction.

My all-time favorite fiction/reality maker was C.S. Lewis. I'm sure you've read 'Surprised by Joy' ... and in it I found the most wonderful journey of discovery and imagination.

This is a way to honor God!

Also...thanks for the book suggestion!

Jen said...

I wish I had the guts to post one of my short stories on the internet. Well, the only place I really could is on blogspot, and generally only one personr eads my blog with any kind of consistancy. So I don't know what I'm afraid of. I just write about very odd things, and in my church, if you do something weird, people start acting all aloof and disapproving. The girl who reads it goes to my church, and even though she's my friend it's still kind of intimidating. It's the church and mindset she's grown up in.

I like the church, but if we could hold onto a youth pastor for more than a month I'd be thrilled. x_x

Eventually I'll post something, and soon I'll have a copy of Outcasts. I'm desperate for some reading material that people in my church won't automatically disapprove of.

Karin, RN said...

I totally agree. Fiction is NOT a waste of time. Doesn't your friend watch movies, or television that is not news or true-to-life?

Thanks for your comment to my post. I will consider it.

Ian said...

Without fiction, It would feel like my heart had stopped beating. 'nuff said.

:)Ian(:

jel said...

hey Andrew,

thanks for stopping by,

and i will do the checkitout thing with Outcasts!

write on with this post! ;)

♥Rachel♥ said...

As usual, you make a good point here.
And fiction not only illustrates a new world, but it helps us understand our own - because it's based off reality...
Your friend is very silly =P

Jenny B. said...

By the way- I bought and read Outcasts just a couple weeks ago, and I liked it.