When I was in high school, I had more books to read than time to read them. Calculus. Biology. History. They all whispered, “If you ignore us, you’ll be sorry.” And I knew they weren’t lying. After studying for hours, who had time to muddle through Moby-Dick or try to find the Deep Hidden Meaning in Macbeth?
Still, I’d do anything to get out of homework. Even read. So I’d sit on my bed and pull out The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It was one of my favorites. Since there wasn’t any DHM to worry about, I could take the story at face value and jump into the treacherous life of poor Kit Tyler, who was obviously not a witch, although the whole town believed she was.
Unfortunately, not as many people are taking advantage of this simple pleasure anymore, according to a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The NEA claims that people who read novels, plays or poetry are two-and-a-half times more likely than non-readers to do volunteer work, and four times as likely to visit museums. The study predicts that, if things keep going the way they appear to be headed, the number of readers in
will virtually disappear in fifty-years. That doesn’t leave many people left to experience the finer things in life. America
Does fiction really matter that much? Some times I stop and ask myself that question, even as I’m writing. I spend so much time in a made-up world in my own head. But then I remind myself of stories I read when I was a teenager, and how they changed me for the better. Made me question things, or wonder things, or learn something new.
That’s what I want to do for others.
That’s why I write.