There used to be a school of thought that hated fiction. Maybe it still exists. It was considered unseemly for people—especially young ladies—to spend their time reading things that were, well, made up.
Even Jerry Seinfeld has been known to do a routine about the difference between the non-fiction and fiction sections in a book store. “These books over here are telling the truth, and these books over here are lying.”
The fiction writer may balk at this description, or even act put-upon and claim that through fiction some greater truth is proclaimed. That might be so … or it just might be a made-up story. The kind of thing we used to get in trouble for back when we were little. “You better not be telling me stories, kid!”
But I like telling stories. And I like reading them. I know there are some great true stories out there, but there are some great fictional stories, too. And sometimes they teach us a deeper truth, and sometimes they open up a window to our deeper selves, and sometimes they just help us go somewhere else for a little while.
“Escapism” is a bad word to some people, but not to me. Sure—like most things—it can be overdone, but there is something soothing about being able to escape for a few minutes here and there into a fictional world. Sometimes it’s soothing because it’s pastoral, and sometimes it’s soothing because the characters in the book have a life way harder than mine and I appreciate that fact. There would be danger in escaping into that world and never coming back—just as there would be if I went on vacation and stayed there, eschewing all responsibilities—but there’s something to be said for a short vacation, even one taken on your break at work as you read a Kindle book on your phone.
So here’s to everyone who wants a little break now and then. I hope you find it in writers of all sorts and stripes, but especially in my books.