Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fiction and Life



          When I was growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I was one of the “middle” children in our neighborhood.  Those older than me were five or ten years older than me.  And, those who were younger than me, also seemed to be at least five years younger than me.  I spent a lot of time by myself or with my Mom.  I don’t remember playing with toys or dolls at all.  I must have had a Barbie or two, but I just don’t remember them.  I remember reading.  I can remember Mom taking me to the Grants store and buying me coloring books and reading books.  I was enchanted. 

          As I grew older, I continued reading Little Women, The Little House Series, Trixie Beldon and more.  Books were friends.  They took me places and allowed me to see more than the tree in my backyard.  At about twelve, I discovered romance novels and I devoured them.  How glorious, to always have a happy ending!  I loved it that true love always won out.  Then, I started reading Mary Stewart and Mary Higgins Clark.  From Mary Higgins Clark, I learned that I loved a mystery and if there was a love interest involved, so much the better.  Sometimes I wondered if I would have become a different person, if I had read non-fiction.  I might have been a little more cynical, a glass half empty sort of girl. 

          The fiction novels allowed me to find a world were happy endings were always possible—no matter the odds.  I could become the heroine and save the day, whether putting out a fire, assisting a homeless pet or loving a child that wasn’t my own.  Those novels made me believe that reality could be what I wanted it to be. 

          Somewhere along the way, life can really get us feeling down.  And, we think that we can’t reach our goals.  We can’t find our way in the storm.  We will NEVER be able to try something new with our lives.  Every negative thought that comes our way stops us in our tracks.  We settle for the lives we think we were meant to live.

          I think that our lives should be more like those fiction novels.  Where the evil is always triumphed against and the demons of life are slain.  Like those books, we should be able to find our way in the storm.  We should be able to change our lives in mid-stream, to find a better way for us and for our families.   Fiction offers us hope; we need to accept that challenge.

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