・・・人はね、生きるのに理由を必要とする、ふしぎな生き物なんだよ。鳥も獣も虫も、生きていることを思い悩みはしないのにね。ときに、人は、悩んだすえに、自分を殺してしまうことさえある。
          上橋菜穂子

I started reading a fantasy series while I was in Japan. Though I spend a fair bit of time reading, my penchant for factual learning keeps me browsing the non-fiction section. I also tend to stick to non-fiction because bad fiction is unbearable and I don’t have the patience to weed through the copious amounts of bad stuff to find the good stuff hidden away. On the other hand, bad non-fiction is kind of like cold pizza — I might have to trudge through it, but at least I’ll have learned something from it.

Because of this, I love being given recommendations for fictional novels. I tend to love science and fantasy fiction because in those genres, there are often elements of humanness that become personified in mystical beings. I’ve always loved mythology for this same reason. What feels forced in non-fantasy fiction feels more fluid in science and fantasy fiction. Characteristics that are often deemed to be flaws by our societal standards get a chance to show their multifaceted nature.

I have to pace myself when I read fiction, though. The depths of the truth in these depictions of human nature can be difficult to digest as quickly as I’m capable of reading. Fiction can easily provoke feelings of desperation, of loneliness, of the futility of human existence that can drag me into a fog without appropriate tempering. I went through a phase where I avoided fiction because of my emotional reactions to it, but now, I know that the things I react to most are the things worth contemplating. Since I’ve started to take more breaks in between reading to sit, I’ve found reading fiction to be much more enjoyable. I may not be learning facts, but I learn more about myself, which I find to be a worthwhile path of study these days.

Advertisements