Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fiction Provides Hope for the Hopeless-Guest Post by Jaime Buckley

Here is the third in a series of guest posts by author Jaime Buckley. Enjoy!

Has anyone noticed, besides me, that when you read a really good story—I’m talking about a serious page turner, that you feel alive, happy and the world seems to be more…pliable? That’s what I constantly experienced as I grew into my adolescence—and constantly reading great fiction. 

As the world turned and I hid from the bullies of the school yards, good stories became the staple of life to me. It was a way for me to let the pain, frustration and depression go and venture into lands rarely traveled. I could enjoy a calm conversation with a King, sit in on the strategic plans of a war council or travel along with heroes venturing into Mordor.

But there was more to it than that. 

There’s always a character or perhaps a situation that you can relate to in a great story of fiction. Sometimes it’s unnerving how close to the heart these scenes, challenges or personalities come to your own. There are times, as in my own books of Wanted Hero, that readers find they may even be looking in a mirror. The first time I realized this was happening was when I watched Frodo observing Gollum. Sam makes the comment that there isn’t hope for the creature and before I knew what would happen next, I was on fire. I seriously took offense at that point of view…and it hurt me. My heart seized up and I felt pains like never before…because I realized at that moment that if there was no hope for Gollum, who had been a ring bearer, there would be no hope for poor Frodo.

I had instantly translated that situation subconsciously, that if you made bad choices in life, there would be no hope. So not only was there no hope for Frodo…there was no hope for me.
The principles behind the story, intended or not, had a profound affect on how I saw myself. I had made many bad choices in my life and I was terrified that I was simply ‘evil’. Opinions of others weighed heavily upon me, and the encouragement of my parents couldn’t counter the ‘truth’ I knew about myself. Yet this book, the story of Lord of the Rings? It instantly penetrated the cracks of my heart with a hope that if Frodo, someone I had grown to admire and relate to could be redeemed…so could a little, awkward kid of 14.

There are countless books that have this very affect upon us, for both good and bad. In that experience, we find freedom, we find convictions, we find points of view we might never had considered…and all through the crafting of a brilliantly executed story. It’s a journey we quickly become addicted to. Why? Because we love that rush, we love that mystery, we love that fear and pull of the unknown. It’s because what we usually find is something unique and something wonderful. What we usually find is ourselves.

Some of my favorite fiction stories of all time are from Narnia, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, the Dragonlance series, and the full gambit of Xanth books by Piers Anthony. What are some of your favorite fiction stories you read growing up and how did they affect YOU in a positive manner? I’d love to know.

Please share your experience with us.

This is my favorite of Jaime's posts so far! :) Clearly me=book nerd. My obvious answer to Jaime's question is Harry Potter. Harry is the best kind of hero because even though he is scared, he does what he thinks is right. The same can be said for Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny... They aren't superheroes who don't show fear. They can be terrified, yet they still act. They are the true heroes!


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