A fellow human being does something you don’t understand, how do you react?
It depends, probably.
Maybe you get confused, angry, or sad.
Maybe you tell yourself to keep an open mind, but maybe you’re clear on right and wrong.
I try to open my mind to another possibility. Sometimes I manage it. Sometimes not.
Now, if you read my blog, I assume you read fiction. Am I wrong?
But in the real world, I meet people who say things like, “I don’t read fiction. I only like true stories.”
A student of mine recently said she doesn’t watch movies because they aren’t real and therefore are a waste of her time.
Stories. A waste of time.
Okay, I realize I’m a fiction writer, and so my reaction is self-serving. Fine. Whatever.
And part of me does want to be reasonable and say, “Well, everyone is different and likes different things. That’s okay.”
But a less generous side of me exist. (Don’t you have such a side?) And this side says something more like, “What? What is wrong with you?”
Because, if I’m honest, that’s what I really think. Something is wrong with these people.
Don’t like fiction. What?!
My good-and-noble side battles with my I’m-right-you’re-wrong side. I fight the urge to shake these people. What did your parents do to you?!
Is it okay not to like fiction? What does liking or not liking fiction mean?
And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the people who don’t like fantasy or science-fiction. It’s not real, they say. I only like real stories.
One of my least favorite lines in the English language. I only like real stories. No matter how rationally a person says that, I hear it as only a whine.
And I know that deep in my heart I think something is wrong with that person even as I scold myself for being a jerk.
I recently watched a TED Talk (can’t remember which one at the moment) that talked about how we feel when people disagree with us. First, we think something along the lines of, “That person is stupid.” If we realize that person is not stupid but still disagrees with us, we think, “That person is ignorant. If they had all the facts, they’d agree with me.” Then we realize that the person is not stupid, has all the same facts we do, and STILL disagrees with us. We conclude, “That person is evil.”
I’m not saying I think you’re evil for not liking fiction…but…
I do think it is important to realize that normal, good people can get the same information and come to a different conclusion–and not be evil. Hard to put that into practice, don’t you think?
But I still think you’re living only half a life if you don’t like fiction.