“For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ….” (2 Peter 1:16).
In the public library this week, it occurred to me that this vast collection of writings is divided into two primary sections: fiction and non-fiction. And that started me thinking. Wonder why the basic section is fiction and the “reality” section, if we want to call it that, is labeled “non-fiction”? Wonder why it’s not the other way around, that the primary part is “Real” or “True” and the secondary part is “fiction” or even “contrived?”
I’m not anti-fiction, incidentally.
I love novels, and read many each year.
My favorites are westerns. Before dismissing this as shallow and unworthy, the reader might be interested in knowing that a lot of important people have loved a good western (in addition to moi–lol). General Dwight Eisenhower, busily planning the invasion of Europe to drive the Nazis out of power, read western novels at night (and later in the White House) before retiring. I expect Ike did it for the same reason I do, as a little escape. Sort of a two hour vacation for the brain.
Westerns are fictions. People sat down and made up these stories. And even though Louis L’Amour boasted that his novels were all fact-based (“if I say there is a creek there and a cave next to it, you can find a creek there with a cave next to it”), it’s been proven that he was embellishing the truth. If anyone cares, I’ve not found them. Yet L’Amour sold over 200 million copies of his novels and they continue to fly off the bookstore shelves.
A German guy named Karl May wrote a ton of western novels without ever having visited the United States. All he knew was what he had read, yet he concocted characters and plots and scenes and convinced a lot of people. His books sold over 50 million copies, became the basis for a number of Hollywood movies, and are still available. May did visit the U.S. once in his life, toward the end. A reviewer said much of what Karl May wrote was interesting and believable, although in more than one story, he spoke of his characters coming up against an “impenetrable cactus forest,” something no one ever found.
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