Reading fantasy is the best place to find reality. Now I know that doesn’t make sense, but nevertheless I believe it to be true. Every day life has a way of getting all mixed up in subjective emotions and all types of predispositions that people bring to the table as they interact with each other on a moment to moment basis. The reality is not easy to find as folks maneuver between cause and effect.
Nor am I trying to be some grand philosopher, believing that by uttering some oxymoron I might gain a reader’s attention.
I truly believe what I’m postulating. Notice I said reading fantasy and not living fantasy; there is a big difference, and we should not get one mixed up with the other. What I find wonderful about reading fantasy is that the characters are large, the settings are incredible, the pace often breathtaking, the quests impossible, and in a mere few hours you get to see the transformation that people go through when they come up against adversity. You get to see through the lies, the fear, the mistakes, the love, the cravings, the stuff that in real life makes us run for cover.
And in real life things are more subtle. Things happen to us; they sit to steep and become a bitter tea that has been left to sit for days or weeks; what we get after that is very hard to digest, and the reality of the situation may be impossible to discern; for it is buried deep inside as we move along with our lives.
Living life is meant to be complicated. Not only do we have to deal with the adversities that come with any lived life, but each day you still have to get up and move forward as there are things that pull you forward, no matter what the past might do to try and hold you in place. Layers on top of layers.
No such things happen in a good read of fantasy. Sure you get the mental anguish that goes with the journey, sometimes you are given the reflections of what drove them to where they are; but there is a straight line in what is unfolding, and that is where the reality lies. In such books, if they are written well, we get to view in a very short time what takes a lifetime in the real world to build: character, the bad and the good.
I truly believe that reading is an essential building block to living, as much as is the living itself. Reading gives you time to ponder and explore other possibilities, other ways of thinking, and gives a sort of kinship that we are all on similar paths, hopefully not all as harrowing as that depicted in the novel.
It might appear that fantasy is my favorite read, but in fact I enjoy many genres, and I explore many possibilities whether it be real science, spiritual, or some far-fetched science fiction or mystery. As with all things, reading alone cannot get you a full life; you still need to interact with your world in a more tangible manner.
But going through life without reading, to me is like going to sleep without dreaming. Yes, we all dream, though we may not remember. Such dreams are said to hold onto every little thing that happens to us such that our soul might be complete with all that we are. We are, in fact, our dreams. I tend to believe that reading allows all of that stuff of dreams to better coalesce with the grand design of the universe, and we reach for a oneness, with compassion in knowing we are all connected and share a similar story.