Truth in Fiction-The Tao of Neil Gaiman

The lights dimmed, and Neil Gaiman walked to the podium. 

His presence was that of an old friend you would have a cup of tea with.  Everything about him reminded me of everything… everything that I held dear.  He began with a speech he gave about the importance of books, and libraries, and why we should dream, and his childhood, and how books were saviors and libraries safe places, and I sat in timeless rapture as I felt my own childhood run back to me like a clumsy kid and wrap me up in it’s unconditionally loving arms.  He spoke to my soul, he was a part of that same fabric of stars that I came from.  Tears ran down my face.  I know ….weird right?  I’m crying at a perfectly non-sad fireside chat with a distinguished author.   But it was such happiness to hear someone speak like I speak and think like I think and dream like I dream.  And be writing…writing ….the joy of writing.

In the dark, I took off my heels and placed my bare feet on the floor.   

“Fiction can show you a different world.  It can take you somewhere you’ve never been.  Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world you grew up in.  Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different”-Neil Gaiman

Books created my discontent at an early age.  My summers, like Neil’s, were spent at the local library, I would sit for hours, reading, and exploring other worlds and lives.  I learned how to live in books, they taught me what my parents wouldn’t or couldn’t.  They allowed me to travel and think  without fear or shame or retribution.  Books were escape back into reality for me.   My love of books is something bordering on the sacred.

Neil understands this.  Maybe all of us writers do.  We understand the revolutionary power of the word. 

Books create discontent for me now, I write to show often how discontented we ought to be sometimes.  This “real” world is a bit mad.  Look at the news, see how we treat each other, see how utterly disconnected we are from other human souls.   Look at our own lives, how we hurt each other, how we say unkind things, or think unkind things, or shut down and tune out and blame. 

I refuse!  Done with those days.

“In the beginning…there was the word”….And I would add…”And the word is sound”  Stories are live things.  They are real things, they bring us into the most intimate places within the human spirit

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