"Art is the nearest thing to life;
it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.”
Our life consists of dateless moments between the cry of our birth, which we do not hear,
and the rattle of our death, which escapes us even as we lose our fragile grasp on awareness.
We do not fully possess it in our own life and only delude ourselves in thinking we possess it concerning the lives of others.
Everyone dies but does everyone live?
Take a diary -- Samuel Pepys or your own.
Once a life is contained, condensed, and compressed in the slim pages of a diary, it seems smaller somehow.
But, of course, it is not.
Not anymore than a painting of the ocean shrinks it.
In reality, the sea still stretches from horizon to horizon.
The events of life give birth to the question WHY? but does death kill all the answers to it?
Each of us must answer that last question for him or herself.
Strange is it not that the question WHY? follows us all the days and passages of our lives?
We never do seem to get an adequate answer to the most important times we ask it.
"Why are we here?"
You must answer that for yourself, of course. But novels help us search out the answer.
Books are safety-deposit boxes for
like urns that contain words not ashes.
Those books that shine a light for you in the darkness of your questions
become "classics" though that term is over-used these days.
The real, in fiction, is always a matter of belief
- it is up to us as readers to validate and confirm.
It is a belief that is requested, and that we can refuse at any time.
Novels let us see the world and our place in it in ways no other medium allows.
Movies tell us what to believe. Novels make us do the heavy lifting ourselves --
And we grow stronger because of it.
“The great secret of morals is love;
or a going out of our nature,
and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own.”
Does everyone live?
Look at the headlines. Is there much self-awareness you see in the angry eyes of protesters the world over?
What do you think?