I prefer to read fiction over nonfiction. This has seemed strange to me. As I get older, some of my friends drift away from fiction and dive into nonfiction, but my love of fiction is stronger than ever. Why wouldn’t I prefer to read a real story? A story of a life whom I could meet in person if that person was still alive?
I think I’m starting to figure out why.
Fiction sometimes feels more real to me. The dialogue, the specificities in colors and images of what the characters see or do…some of that is hard to remember for a nonfiction story. There are images writers create in nonfiction that you don’t usually find in fiction because it’s coming from a real memory. But other than that, it doesn’t matter to me that fiction is false because the ideas behind the story are probably mostly true, depending on the story. Some things or feelings that happen to the characters in fiction stories we can either relate to or at least understand.
But it goes deeper than that. I feel like when I read nonfiction, I am getting told the story from someone else, even if it is written in first person. I already have it in my head that this story is true, therefore I give my mind space from it. It’s still a good story, but that life was already lived, is already taken.
But fiction stories are basically up for grabs. In fiction, I can insert myself into the story and allow myself to be that character. I am the legs running through the trees; I am holding on to the back of a dragon; I am the one crying as I hold my dead, fake sister.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I am quite a lucky kid when looking at the big picture, but I have my days like everyone else. Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here, but then I don’t have the gas to go anywhere. I may not make it to New York, but I can read about a character who lives in New York. For me, reading fiction is the cheapest vacation. Emotion moves us, changes us, and I have dug through more emotions in just a few fiction books I’ve read than all of the nonfiction ones put together. I crave emotion—whether it’s anger, fear, sadness, happiness, hope—because to feel anything is to feel alive. In the low, dull moments of my life I can be soaring. I don’t necessarily like being angry or feel like my heart is breaking, but I’ll take anything over nothing at all.
That’s why I love the writing world. Writing isn’t just a world filled with words, but it’s also a world filled with emotion. The way we can use words to stir up something inside people is fascinating to me.
In life, you can’t be everything (there’s not enough time). But through a story, you can be anything.