I am a huge fan of writing and writers. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that I connect to the writing of certain writers. Heinlein and Asimov, Ben Bova, Tolkein, CS Lewis, Orwell, Bradbury, the list continue for a long time. I struggled at first with Ulysees by Joyce, but I stopped reading and thought about the story; now, it is one of my favorite books. The same is true the first time I read Faulkner. The ability of some writers to create something beyond what was there and what is there makes them hard at times to read.
But the concept and the ideas are so important. Fiction is the ability to create something out of something that is and isn’t there. The best fiction blends the possible with the impossible to allow us to step away from where we are and view what is in front of us. That artistic distance is what writers do. That ability does not translate to politics often. The art of political rhetoric now seems lost. The reality of the rhetoric now is that it is empty and doesn’t allow us to step aside and look at where we were.
Books still do that; there will be a great novel written about our times. As there were many great historical events (, All Quiet on the Western Front is a book that haunts to this day. The Diary of Anne Frank is a book that moves me to tears every time I read bits of it. I can’t read the whole thing anymore; it makes me too sad). Books are a guide, they are information shared, but they are also a one-way conversation. Where the writer shares their beliefs with us so we can unpack them, try them on, and see if they work for us.