American author Neil Gaiman’s 2014 non-fiction book “The View from the Cheap Seats” is a collection of his musings on various topics, including writing, reading, film, and literature. One such entry is a 2013 lecture he gave at The Reading Agency, which he titled: “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming.” In this speech, he makes an impassioned argument for why escaping into fiction is not only essential for nurturing the creative minds of youths, but a healthy and adaptive way to cope when reality becomes challenging. The following is an excerpt of the lecture:

“If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with (and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.”

Visit Gaiman’s official website to learn more about his work:

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Feature Image: Mysticartdesign, On Pixabay, Creative Commons