“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
So this morning I sent out giveaway books: little treasures in the post for lucky winners. It’s a hopeful way to start a new week. I don’t know about you, but after the series of recent tragedies–Dallas, Nice, Turkey, Baton Rouge–I can use a dose of hopeful.
Yet as a writer of light fiction, I puzzle over my contribution to the world. During the school year, my calling is clear: I change the world 20 – 30 teenagers at a time. But my summers are all about creating happy escapist stories. What good are those? Why has God called me to such a task?
Ah, but then I remember my Tolkien and my Lewis– friends, Christian brothers, and writing comrades. Men who lived through two world wars, an era that was just as dark and scary as our modern age.
Hopeful fiction, they remind me, has value, both to teach and to comfort. There are times when we need to close the doors, curl up with a book, and escape the madness.
“I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which ‘Escape’ is now so often used.
Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
~J. R. R. Tolkien
There are lessons to be learned from stories. Bright truths, embedded like gems, that ready us for harsh realities.
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
~ G. K. Chesterton
As we begin a new week, let’s slay some dragons. And when the wolves begin to howl, let’s bar the door and calm our anxious thoughts by reading.