Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Abi's Guide to Reading Fiction

... I wanted to continue the title to read: ...Whether the Author Thinks It's Non-Fiction or Not!

My eye caught the link to this post of the I-Monk over at Kingdom Grace, and I'm glad it did! Thank you, Grace.... :^)

And The Abbess had this to say (and I've taken the opportunity to correct my typos before posting it here):


Thank you for this well-stated response to the whirl around this thought-provoking book.

As I read the comments, I was reminded of a wonderful phrase from J.R.R. Tolkien concerning the proper reading of “story” — he suggested that one [must] set aside disbelief long enough to enter into the story and experience what the storyteller has to offer. Otherwise one gets sidetracked with those bits and pieces that are not “real” or “true” and, more often than not, [misses] the entire point of the story.

This little bit of wisdom from Tolkien has served me well over the past 20 years or so … I recommend it. It is after one has stood in the author’s shoes and looked out through his or her eyes that one must then begin the challenging work of discerning that which is helpful to ponder further and that which just falls away.

And thanks, too, for standing up for proper manners. The Abbess [appreciates] her brother Monk for this. :^)

I have included a similar disclaimer in almost all of my teachings:

  • set aside your presuppositions before we begin this journey together.
  • If a "red flag" goes up, make a note immediately, but don't get sidetracked.
  • Listen through to the end.
  • Then go back and re-read your note.
  • If you still have a flag flying, ask a clarifying question rather than making an accusation.

This is not always easy to do, but I have found it very helpful when I make the effort. It is even more necessary in the virtual world in which we find ourselves.

Be blessed....

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