I watched a video the other day with Robert McKee (a creative writing instructor) and he was talking about being a writer. Some of the things he said resonated deeply with me.
He made the point that our current society is fractured. He said that, in times of chaos, especially the chaos we are experiencing now in our society, people need stories.
His view was that stories help to make sense of the world. My interpretation was: being immersed in any kind of medium, book movies, or television – in other words, the story – helps us translate what we learn to the greater panorama of life.
I think books do that and more. They help us deal with different people. We recognize the people we see in our daily lives within the pages of a book. We figure out how to interact with them. We learn how to cope with difficult situations. We pose the question to ourselves: how would I act in this situation? In other words, we learn about us when we read. Books answer the questions life never does. Books have to make sense. Life doesn’t.
Calgon, take me away
But, for me, the greatest feat a book achieves is this: to allow me to become someone else for a time.
I remember my own life, times when I couldn’t bear the immediacy of reality. I couldn’t grieve one more minute. I couldn’t be in pain one more second. Books saved me. I was transported to another world, able to slip into the skin of someone who was experiencing her own pain. Unlike my life, however, I knew she would get a happy ending.
Another point McKee made was that it doesn’t really matter what the medium is, whether ebooks or paperback, movies or television shows.
There will always be a need for storytellers.
Good to know, both as a writer and a reader.
Have books helped your life?