How Genre Fiction Changes Lives For Real

Sometimes fantasy isn’t very far from the truth.

I’m a storyteller.
It’s what I do.
I’m a writer.

And, not get to get dramatic but stories change lives.
Because stories ARE lives.
Stories are how we as humans relate to other humans and human values, struggles, ideologies, victories, etc.

Anywho, this is a post I wrote a while ago but then forgot about. Nice to know it still 100% applies.

 


A blood prophet is a gal who is born with the ability to tell the future…. If her skin is cut and blood flows from the wound.
This brings great pain until she speaks the prophecy out loud, which she then cannot remember, as her brains switches off and she feels euphoria to compensate for the terrible things she sees.

But what really pinged for me is how she experienced life.
And how OVER STIMULATED she got, so easily.
And yet she still SAVED LIVES.
She matters, has purpose.
Even though she can’t handle more than a few more “images” a day.
When Meg, the main character who is a blood prophet that escaped slavery, began to live in the real world, (that is, outside of a white-walled room with nothing in it, literally), she became way too easily overstimulated by all the new stimuli and her brain sort of “turned off” and she was a zombie for a few minutes. Without even realizing it, she’d zone out, turn off, numb.
You see, Meg, like all blood prophets, was kept in a teeny little room and shown photos of things from the outside world. The only experience with the outside world she ever had.
When Meg has new images or places, situations, photos in a magazine, facial expressions, personal feelings, etc…. and she get’s too many new ones in one day… she’s done.

I realized, this is exactly what I do.
My brain turns off.
Without me realizing it.
I was abused as a child and as such, learned to “detach” or clinically put, “dissociate”.
Meaning, mentally, Daphne wasn’t home.
As I grew older I continued coping with unhealthy situations and relationships this way.
Without knowing it.
Once into therapy, we figured it out.

But I didn’t know it was so pervasive in my everyday life.
I thought it was one size fits all.
Instead, there’s versions of it. Levels.

To spare any lengthy dissertation of my life and experiences in the past four years, I’ll stick with the most jarring and recent realization.
Which came about ONLY once I’d read this book and realized it was an actual thing that happens to human beings.

I started college.
One class.
First semester.
A subject I LOVE.
I approach class every day with enthusiasm, interest, excitement, ready to learn more about what I love and apply it to my life.
And I HATE college.
Let me repeat…
HATE!
LOATH WITH A PASSION!!!

I couldn’t figure out why.
When it finally hit me, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure it out. It was once I’d read three books in this series that I added the knowledge to my life and behaviors in the past months and the light bulb BURST into life above my head.
I am a slow learner.
No, really.
I need to soak in, absorb, directly apply information to my life, and repeatedly read stuff, take notes, dissect, etc. when it comes to learning.
When it comes to doing things in a job, I learn really fast.
When I have to read and learn something new in a book environment, I’m slower than molasses in midsummer.
And it threw me. I’d always considered myself a quick learner. When I had things to do – I excelled. Give me a pattern of activities to do and BOOM I have it down.
Not to mention I got through schooling with ‘A’s in every subject.
So HOW am I a slow learner?
I focused on getting good grades. Not on learning. School doesn’t reward learning; it rewards good grades, doing the work, being disciplined, etc.
I’m a hard worker, I’m disciplined.
I’m a slow learner.
I need to learn at a much slower pace than 3 chapters of twenty-five pages each and 3 assignments with their own set of research and information – in one week. Which is the definition of college.
NOT for me.
Lucky for a gal like me, life has options.

Reading Anne Bishop’s novels on Meg taught me something about life, about myself, about how I learn, and about how often I get overstimulated and zone out, without realizing it.
REAL LIFE wasn’t teaching me this.
NOTHING was teaching me this.
A work of fiction. A story. An urban fantasy. This is how I learned vital information about myself and how I operate within the world.
A work of fiction genre taught me truth no one else and nothing else ever had.
THAT is the power of genre fiction.
It is a lie with more truth in it than we can imagine.
Because no story, no matter how bizarre or unusual, is ever truly made up.


The series I am talking about in the post is Anne Bishop’s “The Others” Series. You can check her books out here. I have only read books #2, 3, and 4. I’m excited to read more.

What have works of fiction taught you?

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