I have a confession to make.
I only read nonfiction.
Well, not entirely. I read a fiction book on vacation last month (thanks, Kevin Kwan!), and before that (cough), on vacation two years ago (thanks, Haruki Murakami!).
As your resident goal-getter, nonfiction just seems so much more… important. Who has time for frivolity when there are things to learn, goals to accomplish!
But since the smartest people I know spend time not just with nonfiction but also with novels, I finally stopped to wonder if I was missing half the story.
Ironically, the arts – yes, fiction – can be the best possible way to learn, really learn, about our culture. As humans, the language of story cuts through the intellect and lands in the heart, making stories more memorable and their lessons more salient.
Much of our culture is shaped by stories. From Aesop’s fables to Biblical parables, stories are how we convey common sense, maintain cultural frameworks, warn of danger. We commit them to memory and pass them on, remembering the tortoise and the hare more handily than the sociological theory it illustrates.
So while I never miss an episode of streaming fiction (thanks, Dick Wolf!), this month I’ll let go of the urge to binge information and relax into narrative. You never know what lessons are hiding in a story.
Strategy & Style,
Artwork by Amy Hutcheson, Stories Being Told To The Sky, 48in x 48in, oil on canvas