In a New York Times article titled “Transcript: President Obama on What Books Mean to Him,” he’s quoted as saying
“Fiction was useful as a reminder of the truths under the surface of what we argue about every day.”
So we are again reminded that fiction, even though made up, is about the truth of things, particularly our lives.
He also cited a reason that many of us read fiction when he said
“. . .there’s been the occasion where I just want to get out of my own head. Sometimes you read fiction just because you want to be someplace else.”
The article reported that he sees fiction as a valuable contributor to what the future holds.
“When so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify — as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize — is more important than ever,”
About his time in New York, during which he read a great deal, both fiction and nonfiction, he says
“. . . it reintroduced me to the power of words as a way to figure out who you are and what you think, and what you believe, and what’s important, and to sort through and interpret this swirl of events that is happening around you every minute.”
Did you know that Obama wrote short stories? I didn’t.
“. . . writing was the way I sorted through a lot of crosscurrents in my life — race, class, family. And I genuinely believe that it was part of the way in which I was able to integrate all these pieces of myself into something relatively whole.
“People now remark on this notion of me being very cool, or composed. And what is true is that I generally have a pretty good sense of place and who I am, and what’s important to me. And I trace a lot of that back to that process of writing.”
I was delighted to learn that his reading is eclectic, and that it includes science fiction and thrillers. There’s much more of interest to writers in the article, so check it out here.
The point of all this? Keep at it, you’re contributing to us and to yourself.
© 2017 Ray Rhamey
My books. You can read sample chapters and learn more about the books here.
Writing Craft Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling
Fantasy (satire) The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles
Mystery (coming of age) The Summer Boy
Science Fiction Hiding Magic
Science Fiction Gundown Free ebooks.