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February 25, 2009

Like many writers, I find that fiction is more a way of life than a hobby. I enjoy all aspects of storytelling, from novels to television to big-screen movies. In fact, I would say that a good portion of my life is dominated by fiction.

Does that make me weird? Does my fascination with fiction mean I am ill-equipped to deal with reality? I don’t think so.

When I’m having a bad day, or when the world around me seems hostile, I escape into a book or television show. It is instantly calming to insert myself in another place and time, to assign new circumstances to my life with the click of a button or the rustle of pages.

This, I believe, is the magic of fiction. How many people out there are homeless? Jobless? Scared about the future? Dealing with the grief over a loved one’s passing? Pain is all around us, and fiction gives us a much-needed reprieve from the harsh realities of life.

I used to think my attraction to fiction was because fictional characters inevitably experience far more hardship than I’ve ever seen. Compared t battling vampires or running from murderers, my life seems pretty tame. I figured fiction gave me an opportunity to appreciate the good things in life.

More than that, however, I now know that it is the good guys’ triumph at the end that draws me to fiction. The hero’s plight might be exciting and suspenseful, but when he vanquishes the monster or eludes his pursuers, hope brightens the horizon.

If you do nothing else today, I suggest you pick up a novel and read. Immerse yourself in a fictional universe, even if only for a few minutes, and let its power make your day better. That, if nothing else, is what I hope to accomplish through writing.

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