Why We Need To Read Stories

In a way, stories provide a way to escape the prison of the present.  They take me to a place where I can escape.  In reading, there is an emptiness or a void that is filled.  By reading or writing, I do not have to suffer.  Perhaps, both are forms of instant gratification.  Aristotle in “Poetics” thought of reading as a paradox.  While Aristotle may have thought reading as an idle activity, the paradox was that it brought pleasure.   I know this is the case for me.

My father was a librarian.  He loved books.  It brought him pleasure.  Since passing on some time ago, I know finally have come to the realization as to why he loved books.  I think that a lot of times the story is these books are similar to each other.  I read many books.  In doing so, I think that the same theme is repeated over and over.  If you think about it, there is a pattern, particularly in fiction, that repeats itself. Invariably, there is a conflict or a struggle.  In that struggle, the conveyance of the story wields some kind of cathartic power to the writer.  By sharing the story, the writer hopes to transfer some of that power to the reader.

As a writer, I think we have to understand and accept that suffering is the human condition.  Either directly or indirectly, that becomes the theme.  Our ability to share common experiences in a way that is understood and empathized with would be the goal.

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