This post has been inspired by a post from a fellow blogger by the name of Ben Ditty, Nice old spice is his blog and I have had a lot of fun reading his work, and seeing his responses to comments. Although he does have a strange fetish with small cone shaped hats....
Fantasy comes closer to reality.
The other day in class we were discussing an essay and the instructor( Crumrine, 4/15/2011) made a statement (I’m paraphrasing, and possibly completely butchering) that people give fiction altogether too much power; that they believe fiction will influence people to act in a way they normally would not. While I agree with him for this particular situation, I don’t believe fiction is given enough power.
When I say fiction, I’m speaking of fantasy, and science fiction, but I would like to think that my beliefs hold true in all realms of fiction. One small story can have the power to change your life. I started reading fiction in about the sixth grade. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I think it saved my life.
The Smallest Dragon Boy (McCaffery, Get off the unicorn, 1973, Del Rey) was my first venture into the world of fiction; I was in the sixth grade, and the year was 1989. For the past six years I had been in anger management, because of fighting, and outbursts in school. My life was a living hell. My mother and stepfather beat me on a regular basis. My teachers treated me like I was slightly retarded. The other students verbally and physically abused me. I had suffered sexual abuse from a family member.
I still remember that day. I was sitting in class after being called into the principal’s office; the principal had spent fifteen minutes or so telling me what a horrible child I was, and that my life wasn’t going to amount to anything. I felt hopeless, and small, and to top it all off my teacher wanted me to read. I didn’t have the will power to get into trouble again so I opened my book up.
A picture of a boy and a small dragon were what piqued my interest. I started to read. In the time it took the rest of the class to read I had read it three times. The story spoke to me. No, the story shouted to me! You may be small, you may be a dork, and the world may use you as a punching bag, but in the end you will end up with a bronze dragon. I started actually reading that afternoon, and I haven’t stopped since.
I’ve read thousands of books, tens of thousands of stories over the last twenty years, and that one short story has had the most impact. I think in fiction the authors can be more honest. I think they can tell the uncomfortable, the ugly, the sad, the scary, and the beautiful truths that they couldn’t tell any other way.Chris McQueeney 4/2011