Why I Like Fiction
Writing in the narrative form is a brand new endeavor for me.
As a philosophy/political science/law student, newspaper columnist, trial and appellate lawyer and blogger, I am well versed in expository and persuasive writing. I enjoy this type of writing and firmly believe in the power of explanation and argument. I have witnessed it personally with the articles I’ve written and motions and briefs I’ve argued.
My words have affected the fate of human liberty. My words have ignited inspiration and debate.
Good things can be achieved with appeals to reason. Appeals to reason can change the world.
But reason can only take us so far. There are elements of the human experience that are beyond the scope of reason. The human experience itself, our very existence in the company of so much nothingness, is beyond the scope of reason. I cannot ignore this fact if I am to achieve my aim as a writer to speak truth.
Underlying every rational construction is suchness. Underlying every idea or concept about the world and our place in it is an experience rooted in place and time. This individualized experience as a human being contains more truth in its suchness than any argument or idea.
That we are here is more worthy of our attention than why we are here.
Fiction provides a complete and accurate picture of the human experience. In exposing the unfiltered ruminations of an individual consciousness, it gives the reader an emotional basis for empathy. Readers develop intimacy with that consciousness and are left with the feeling that they are not alone in this world, that everybody suffers, everybody has shortcomings, everybody has thoughts that they shouldn’t have, everybody berates themselves to some degree and to some extent everybody acknowledges their brilliance.
By anchoring the reader in an authentic human story with detail and description, abstract ideas and concepts about the meaning and purpose of life become less abstract, more in your face, more real, relevant, pressing and urgent.
This confluence of idea and story/philosophy and experience is where magic happens and what makes fiction so powerful.
Art is definitely the most powerful force we have at our disposal. It is a collaborative, dialectical process.
I write with my voice, but my reader reads with the voice in their head. When my voice meets the reader’s voice, a whole new voice is created and that’s pretty fucking cool.