I like to think fiction is vital.
Stories can show us what it’s like to descent into chaos and find our way back out.
They give us examples to live by, and the best heroes can inspire us to be the best version of ourselves.
Stories help us learn empathy for people living lives different from our own.
There’s a heroic story for every kind of person and every type of chaos. The more we share in those stories and let them become part of us, the closer we come to being one people. I think there’s potential for a positive feedback loop: as storytellers, the more exposure we have to diverse fiction, the more it becomes a part of us, and the more it will come back out in our writing and our characters.
And in our lives.
That’s important. In a world where technology gives us access to incredibly destructive weapons, we can’t afford to other one another.
Sometimes it can be hard to find a hero to believe in. We’re crushed because we long for examples of virtue that will stand up to the test of time, but real people aren’t perfect, and they fail us. But we still know goodness when we see it, and when we read about it in fiction, we can extrapolate its meaning and add it to our lives. We can honor it when it shows up in one another, rather than being crushed when our paper god lets us down.
Tangentially, I have huge respect for the band Paramore. The singer is Christian, even though the band is secular. They’ve been around for a while and they have a great, positive vibe and message. A lot of their fans started to worship her, so she put out this song encouraging them not to. It’s a great song and had a big impact on something I wrote recently.