Explode Your Mind by Reading Fiction
I haven't read a novel in a while. While writing Walking Through Walls, I've been into non-fiction. Books on faith and work, books on writing, that type of stuff.
There's only so much of that a person can take.
Sometimes you need to read some fiction, whether it's about aliens invading or a redneck murder. Fiction isn't candy, it's important mind meat.
Fiction is a creation of a story from nothing by someone else's brains and hands. It is a portal of sorts. Before someone wrote that novel there was nothing at all - it's like God's speaking life into the void. No material was stolen from somewhere else, it's a net add to the universe. A book, that is.
Reading fiction expands our brains by exercising our imagination. A writer takes a reader on a journey deep into the mind and heart, but she does not write every detail. We must form the reality in our minds. The writer only takes us so far. Our brain muscles have to work with our soul to paint the expression on the protagonist's face, the smears on his shoes, and the block wall of his school.
It has never been easier to read. And I think vital. With (as Stephen King says) 'the glass teat' of television - and I'll extend this to our phones - streaming messages at us faster than we can comprehend, our minds need a tree-lined path to walk without virtual street vendors and cat GIFs yelling at us. Otherwise I think we'll end up in padded rooms.
Reading fiction expands our minds. Our vocabulary broadens. We learn more about human nature by watching characters deal with impossibly difficult circumstances and loss. We experience deep empathy as we ride along with the characters, which is an empathy unlike anything we can experience in the non-book world unless you have telepathy. Which you don't.
And now a word to dudes. Novels aren't for girls reading on the beach with painted toes and a spritzer. Go read a Cormac McCarthy book or something from Ernest Hemingway. Or Larry McMurtry. You are a better man when you read.
Lastly, you probably think you don't have time to read. And you don't. You are probably like the rest of us in this age of glowing pixel boxes. (You are reading this on one of those.) You won't have time to read until you cut something else. My proposal: cut your 'glass teat' time of all sorts to read a physical book.
If you decide to pick up a novel, I'd love to hear your experience with what you read.
*I am going to blog a bit less while I'm working on finishing Walking Through Walls. I need all the writing time I can get. I'll still post but not as often or as regularly. I'll do video updates now and then and I'll post those on social media (between cat GIFs and that video of the dog stealing the car) and I will also put through other channels.