There is no denying that our world is in a state of flux right now. Egypt and much of the Middle East is in a state of revolution, the events in Wisconsin will have repercussions on the American people for years to come, and all over the world the very earth itself is shaking and reshaping lives as it reshapes itself.
And yet, painters still paint, dancers still dance, and we writers still write. It may seem a futile gesture to some, but for those who understand the power of creativity, it is inevitable that the arts will continue, even now. Story is not obsolete, my friends. Instead, it is more important than ever.
Story provides guidance for how to get through the rough spots. From time immemorial, stories have been our teachers. Great tales of the gods explained how the world worked, heroic tales of our predecessors pass on the emotional tools we need and the knowledge that what is happening to us now has happened before in some form. If those that came before us managed to get through it, then we can, too.
Story gives us a place of refuge, a way to take us away from the mundane world and all of our troubles for a little while. Escapism has become a dirty word in our modern times and much of literature is focused on gritty realism. Alas, when someone is going through their own troubles, the last thing they need is a reminder of that pain. A side-step into an alternate world, even if only for an hour or two, can do much to heal the soul and steel us for the next step on the path.
And story can help those of us who write to get through the tough times. It gives us a means of processing all of the swirling, confusing emotions that surround us. An outlet for the pain, anger, sadness, grief and, when things go well, joy of life helps us to understand ourselves and our reactions to the goings on around us.
So, dear reader, I humbly encourage you to keep reading. Read to your children, your family, read on the train, and on your lunch breaks. Allow story to teach you that you are not alone, that there are fantastical worlds waiting for you, and that this human story goes on. Despite tragedy, despite revolution and upheaval, despite the petty troubles of our day to day existence, this story, our story, does not end.