“We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God.
“Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
I like this quote, but it seems a little strong to me. I don’t agree that we can grow in godliness only by myth-making, but I think it can be one good way.
When you love a story, and you ask yourself why, you can find out what your heart is really yearning for. I love stories full of ordinary people becoming heroes, finding courage, making sacrifices, and out-smarting the bad guys. I want to be a hero, and I want someone who loves me enough to make sacrifices to save me.
Do you agree with all or part of this quote? What do your favorite stories say about what you love?
I’ve been posting a lot of quotes lately about the benefits of stories and reading, about how they can teach us (even the fun, fictional stories) to see our real lives in a different light. That’s what my favorite section from “Date a Girl Who Reads” was about:
“Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.” (Read the whole thing here.)
Apparently, G.K. Chesterton agreed. Here are two thoughts of his on the same subject:
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”
“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
– G.K. Chesterton
I love this second one especially, because so many of my favorite fictional characters are deeply flawed people. I mean, how can I love fictional characters who are immature, or short-sighted, or have easy tempers, and then quickly get angry at people in my life who do one thoughtless thing?
Maybe next week I’ll make a list of my favorite fictional characters, their flaws, and why I like them. Hmm…
So here’s a question, are there any characters you love in a book or movie, but you couldn’t stand to hang around with them in real life? For example, Shawn Spencer from the tv show Psych. That man would drive me crazy, but he is hilarious to watch on tv.
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell him to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning.”
– Flannery O’Connor
“[This story] has no explanation and no conclusion; it is, like most of the other things we encounter in life, a fragment of something else which would be intensely exciting if it were not too large to be seen.
“For the perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them. What we call triviality is really the tag-ends of numberless tales; ordinary and unmeaning existence is like ten thousand thrilling detective stories mixed up with a spoon.”
– G.K. Chesterton (from Tremendous Trifles)
I can’t even describe how much I like this.