If you’re a reader, you share a lot in common with authors. We’re all fascinated by and unable to resist the chance to slip into another person’s life. How does it feel in their skin?
Fiction is the safe place to try out strategies for living.
I still remember the time in my late teens when I realised that no matter how I attacked life, there would be worlds forever closed to me. Worlds that I couldn’t enter because every choice has its price.
Economists talk about “opportunity cost”. For everything we choose, say “yes” to, the cost is all the other options unchosen. In books, we get to explore those options.
Is this escapism? Heck, I hope so!
We all need to be wild women (and men), but life can strangle our sense of adventure. Books give us a thread of freedom and a path back to our dreams.
You’ll often hear authors say that they have to be careful or they’ll spend too much time researching topics for their books or collecting inspirational images on Pinterest (*ahem* Yes, Chasing Xanadu does have its own Pinterest board and I seem to have gone a bit crazy dressing my heroine). What we’re really doing is indulging our curiosity.
And that’s cool. That’s healthy and natural. Curiosity is the first step to empathy. If we want to know what the other person is feeling, we’re halfway to understanding their experience. The challenge then for authors is to convey all of what they’ve learned and imagined, and open the door for readers’ own curiosity.
Curiosity opens the world and builds bonds of shared (even if vicarious) experience. The News keeps telling me that the world is filled with fear and violence, hate and distrust. But I’ve indulged my own curiosity, my own need to know, and I believe the world is filled with people wanting to reach out and experience other lives. We want to connect, and books are part of making that happen.
I’m proud to be an author.