Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fiction or Nonfiction?

In a recent post Tom Who Is Contrary explains why he does not like fiction. He doesn't like being told stories or the fact that they are made up. Got me to thinking a bit. I love fiction. I love listening to people tell stories. I love to tell stories. I love reading stories. Fiction might be made up, but good fiction is also true in a way that I think nonfiction cannot be. I have been deeply affected by works of fiction. I have sobbed, I have yelled, I have cheered, I have been inspired while reading fiction. I like nonfiction too. I read quite a bit of nonfiction. I read nonfiction to learn about something. I usually don't get emotionally invested in nonfiction. I can't think of one work of nonfiction that I could say had a deep impact on me. Fiction takes me places. Fiction lets me live lives very different from my own. I can experience life in pre-historical times and in futures that may never exist. Fiction lets me forget who I am for a little while. Nonfiction never lets me forget. Sometimes after I finish a novel I wonder what the characters are doing. I don't usually find myself doing that after a work of nonfiction even if it's a memoir. Life without fiction would be dreary. I can't not read fiction. Not when there are authors and books out there like these. What better way to learn about a culture than to read the stories they tell?