Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Down with Reality(?)

Three different people have written to me this past week to say they “just finished” or are “enthralled by” a novel. Each time, I grinned—because I know exactly how they feel.

Remember those old Calgon bath salts commercials? When her world became too chaotic, the woman would cry, “Calgon, take me away!” and end up relaxing in a tub of bubbles.

Well-written fiction, too, can whisk you away from your woes or push you to delve deeper into them. Good writing introduces you to characters and environments that jog your perspective, surprise you with insights, equip you with new coping mechanisms. It expands your world, allows you to luxuriate in thoughtful, exquisite phrasing.

If you’re recovering from an injury, fighting to hang on to your job, or just struggling with each day’s dreary headlines, pick up a book. I guarantee it’s better than Calgon.

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” 
—Somerset Maugham

[Art by John White Alexander.]

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