Chesterton and Tolkien and Lewis were, as I've said, not the only writers I read between the ages of six and thirteen, but they were the authors I read over and over again; each of them played a part in building me. Without them, I cannot imagine that I would have become a writer, and certainly not a writer of fantastic fiction. I would not have understood that the best way to show people true things is from a direction that they had not imagined the truth coming, nor that the majesty and the magic of belief and dreams could be a vital part of life and of writing.Read the whole thing. Critics of both the academic and back-porch variety love to debate the purpose that stories serve. Do they merely entertain? Do they simply reflect a historical milieu? Are they literary Rorschach blots upon which a reader projects his own interests and hang ups? We could fill a book with answers to any one of these questions. But on a bedrock-basic level, I find Gaiman's conviction incredibly compelling: Stories show what an author believes to be true; stories tell those truths slant; and good stories do both of those things beautifully.
(Picture: CC 2009 by guiltyx)