Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiction Friday: Does Fiction Fuel Discontent?

Awhile back, I came across an interesting idea that I personally had never encountered. The idea that reading fiction--romance in particular--can be damaging to one's spousal relationship, or I suppose, one's general psyche, because it glamorizes an unobtainable ideal.

It took me aback. How else are we to experience the sigh-worthy experiences that we'll never run into while shopping at Target or driving the minivan? Where else are we to find that warm, satisfying inspiration that makes us love everyone around us just a little more than before? How can we know anything beyond our limited existance if we don't step into other shoes through fiction? And aren't we repeatedly told to foster a love for reading into our kids from the time they are conceived?

Yet, it gave me pause. How often has a wife read a book featuring a hero with impossibly good looks, muscles upon muscles, fierce protective instincts that have him always arriving in the nick of time to save the heroine from the kidnapper holding a gun or the spider crawling along the floor, yet tender enough to shed a tear as he expresses the depth of his love . . . and then closed the book, looked at her real-life husband and thought "if only"?

I can see a point here. It could set up a standard that is just as impossible to reach for real-life men as the airbrushed photos of surgically-enhanced women are for us to match. Is there an in-between, a personal balance?

I have some thoughts on this, but I'd like to hear yours. What do you think?


Katie Ganshert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie Ganshert said...

Deep thoughts today! Wow. I have so many thoughts on this. If I wrote them all, this would be much too long.

I love reading. I love writing. I love romance. I do think there is a risk that fiction (but romance in particular) might elicit feelings of dissatisfaction in readers. That is why, in the romance I write, I try to point to the ultimate hero. A hero who never fails. A hero who is available to every woman.

There is something inside us that longs for that protectiveness. That tenderness and depth and swoon-worthiness. Only we're not going to find that man in our husbands, no matter how wonderful they are. We're going to find that hero in our ultimate bridegroom.

I wrote a blog post about it here: http://katieganshert.blogspot.com/2011/07/greatest-love-story-ever-told.html

Great conversation starter, Michelle!

P.S. I deleted my previous post because I used ultimate,like, five times. Yeesh!

Michelle Massaro said...

Hi, Katie! I agree with you and think that's the approach to take with Christian romance for sure. I'll head over and read your post! =)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Well said, Michelle! Been hearing some buzz on this topic this past week. Interesting to see what's getting written on it. :)

Jessica R. Patch said...

Roseanna White had a great article about this and I think I wrote a book in her comments! lol I won't do that here. ha!

I tend to agree with Katie. We should be pointing to the real Hero!

Susan said...

I am a romantic at heart and completely agree...I think God put this romance in our hearts. We talk all the time about our "White Knight on a shining horse" and I love that one day, that's what He'll ride in on:) I love reading and writing romance that points back to Him and yet fills that whimsical spot in our hearts too. Ha! And could I say the word "heart" a few more times! Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Michelle Massaro said...

Raquel, Jessica, Susan--thanks for your input! Susan, I love what you said about Christ coming back for us on his white steed. =) What a wonderful way to look at this topic. Our stories should be images of his romancing of us. Love it!! =)