I need make-believe

Photo by  Glen Noble  on  Unsplash

Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard it before, “I only read non-fiction.”  It’s usually said with an air of superiority in response to a mention of the latest best selling fiction. My thought is always, how sad

I can't even imagine my life without fiction. There’s a place for non-fiction, of course; history, science, psychology. But I contend that fiction is just as important. I’ve learned through reading fiction, in a way a textbook could never teach me.

I’ve trudged through the mud on a civil war battlefield, I've learned about DNA through tales of nefarious characters who seek to mutate it for their own gain. I've felt passion, agony, even madness, through the eyes of a heroine. 

When would I have had the chance to interview a vampire, be swept away by a billionaire in Charlie Tango, walked in the shoes (or lack there of) of an aboriginal in Tasmania named Peevay? It’s a puzzle to confound.

Fiction has been there when I needed a laugh, when I wanted to be entertained, when I craved a break from reality.

Who could ever forget the moment, when the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and unrelated twists and turns, would all come together for Owen Meany to fulfill his life's mission? To this day, a fleeting thought of Ignatius J. Reilly can make me laugh, even though I read A Confederacy of Dunces so many years ago. 

The hope that I might, in my own small way, offer a laugh, entertain, provide a little distraction for another reader - that's what keeps me showing up at my computer. The idea drives me to wake at 5:00am every morning to write. The passion makes me suck it up, accept the notes from my editor, and rewrite that scene again. 

To Ann Rice, E. L. James, Matthew Kneale, John Irving, John Kennedy Toole, and all other writers of fiction - thank you! Thank you for allowing me to play in your world of make-believe.