The Transformative Powers of Fiction

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Writing Off the Page

Digital revolution or not, the transformative powers of fiction give me hope: that lives are not meaningless; that great worlds can be built; that disbelief can be suspended—even if one is full of disbelief; that individual experience is a blessing not a curse; that Maslow and Tony Robbins might have a point but such sentiments are best offered without analysis or sensationalist appeals; that acknowledgments of triumph, adversity, courage, pith, and romance help us beat back whatever beleaguering monotony exists in our diverse realities; that perspective cannot be confused with truth; that poignant aspects of privacy can be shared when we feel as though we’ve tripped on a sidewalk alone; and that while some stories may only be palliative there are many that cure our cultures of the disconcerting plagues that can hardly be identified to great effect any other way than by means of a big, beautiful book.

My faith in fiction is like an eternal flame that shines as a small true light in the darkness of this despairing life.

But form? Jesus. I have absolutely no faith in form right now. None. I don’t want to upset you but you might as well know sooner rather than later. I want you to have some chance of recovering from the blow. Did you know that advertisements are likely going in e-books? Seriously. No joke. Commercials will be in your book. There’s no more meditative sanctum. No private reprieve from incessant marketing efforts by piggy-backing enterprises that cater to personal data sets.

Even if there are those among us who enjoy an advertisement that holds redeeming aesthetic appeal, I don’t think many people relish the thought of brazen intrusions upon a reader’s world. But deal with it as best you can. Any sacred sense you have about the culturally-refined experience a reader and writer share across time by way of the pages of a book is pretty much going the way of all things.