It’s strange to me that there is such a stigma on enjoyment in the literary community. Why is it less valuable to enjoy a book, as opposed to find it thought-provoking? It seems to me that we’ve somehow come to place a stronger focus on thinking in our society, as opposed to feeling.
When I write, I want to make people feel. That is the art in which I engage. I tell stories, hoping to make people feel wonder, thrill, sorrow, or joy. I do like it when my writing is though-provoking, but this is not the focus for me. The story comes first.
Perhaps it’s because I, myself, am not a very emotional person. One of the few things that can provoke a strong reaction in me is a well-told story. So, therefore, I work hard to create stories of that nature. I find this emotional provocation as valuable, and as difficult an art to do well, as something capable of thought provocation.
I think this might be the disconnect between the popular fiction crowd and the literary fiction crowd.
Story Idea of the day: A society where it is considered wrong, immoral, or even illegal to provoke people’s emotions. It has been decided that extreme emotions are bad for society, and so laws have been passed to ‘save’ people from their emotions.
This is an extreme extrapolation of some Victorian ideas. At one point (and, actually, we still do this a bit) it was considered a woman’s fault for provoking lustful emotions inside of a man. In other words, the man was bad for thinking the thoughts–but a woman was even worse for making the man think them.
What would a society be like that took this idea to the extreme? A society where you could be prosecuted for doing things that made other people feel emotional? If you made them angry for being of a race they hate, or if you wore clothing that made them feel lustful, or if you said things that made people sad.