A Sense of Life in Language Love and Literature
The fundamental human activity of telling stories, extended into the cultural tradition of literature, leads to the creation of alternative worlds in which we find resonance with the whole range of human thought and emotion from different and often conflicting perspectives. Fiction has no obligation to the ordinary strictures that bind our public lives, so the mind is free, engaging in literature, to become for the moment whatever imagination can conceive. So we become, in fictive reality, madman and poet, sinner and saint, embrace and embody sorrow and joy, hope and despair and all the rag tag feelings that flesh is heir to. But the sense of our own lives bleeds into the lives of others and our characters are formed and our lives enriched or impoverished by the relationships we develop. Literature extends the possibilities and scope of human experience and understanding of relationships that vary in dimension and depth—that develop in their own ways broadly between the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some relationships are given, some chosen, some forced. Some are nurturing, some useful, some inspiring, some destructive. But in any event and in every instance our sense of life in the connective tissue of human relationships is transformed through literature.