I know a woman who makes the most incredible tasting cinnamon rolls. She never eats them because she doesn’t like cinnamon. I know, I find someone not enjoying the taste of cinnamon hard to believe too. But that’s life—full of oddities and uncertainties.
Good writers are avid readers. Saying that after what I just wrote about baking leaves me open to being proved wrong. It will not be either the first or last time for that. However, I have qualified this statement—I said, good writers. I have read books by my contemporaries who do not read the writings of others. They are not the writers they think themselves to be.
I think good writers read because we like a story as much as anyone. That it enhances their talent is gravy. It’s all about the story. Even those who don’t read, love stories that is why movies, television, and podcasts are popular.
Why is it that people love stories?
First of all, we see our life as a story, and ourselves as the heroic protagonist battling against all odds, slaying the giant, saving the kingdom, as we journey toward happily ever after.
I love C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity. One reason is, that though it is non-fiction, it is filled with stories to illustrate the points he wishes to make. When we “see” something in a story, the image is more easily absorbed by the mind and retained in our knowledge.
I think the real reason we love stories so much is the same reason some criticize stories—fantasy. Stories are an escape into fantasy, and that’s the beauty of them. Stories take us to other worlds, other times, even other realities in which we can be anything and do anything.
Stories, well told, open the eyes of childlike wonder that is buried under all the debris of adulthood yet still live in us. We see bravery, courage, and the exploits of heroes in a revived awe we once knew so well as children. This is why so many so-called children’s books are equally loved by adults.
We need the escape of fantasy to capture our sense of awe, to lift us up, and inspire us to reach higher, to hope, and to love more than we have ever done. Open an escape hatch and take a walk in inner space.