Since last summer I’ve slowly been working my way through Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books. I have all six books in a mighty 1000-page volume.
The Earthsea books are a fantasy series about wizards and dragons. Essentially I’m using my kids as an excuse to go and read children’s books. Except, they aren’t actually children’s books. Not really. As Ursula says in the intro, they’re just stories that children might also like to read.
At the end of each book there’s an afterword from the author. At the end of Tales From Earthsea I found the following passage:
“As the virtual world of electronic communication becomes the world many of us inhabit all the time, in turning to imaginative literature we may not be seeking mere reassurance nor be impelled by mere nostalgia. To enter with heart and mind into the world of the imagination may be to head deliberately and directly toward, or back toward, engagement with the real world.
Reality is life. Where we suffocate is in the half-life of unreality, untruth, imitation, fakery, the almost-true that is not true. To be human is to live both within and beyond the narrow band of what-happens-now, in the vast regions of the past and the possible, the known and the imagined: our real world, our true Now.”
Amen to that. You could argue that storytelling is the antidote to flash-in-the-pan social media posts that disappear once the present moment is consigned to the past.
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