But it’s not that I don’t like reading. Words have always been important to me. When you’ve been privileged enough to have been taught Shakespeare by Stanley Middleton you can’t fail to appreciate their power and joy. Two inspirational Editors of a regional newspaper are to thank for my understanding of integrity in the written word, and I admire those who can write well in any genre, and especially Jane Austen. Who could ever argue the genius of Pride and Prejudice?
And now I’m delighted to be able to justify spending most of my disposable income on books – hardbacks, paperbacks, electronic formats, just keep them coming – as I’ve read that a couple of psychologists reckon they’ve proven that reading literary fiction enhances our ability to understand someone else’s emotions.
I’m intrigued by the idea that the unknown elements, or incompleteness, of a fictional character might help us to train our mind to try to understand the minds of others.
Paul Gilbert in his beautiful book, The Compassionate Mind, puts it so well:
“Imagination allows us to ‘create worlds in our head’, to pretend and consider multiple possibilities.”
So here’s to a whole new year of imagination, of creativity, and of trying to better understand those close to us.