The man in the office next to me, Bob, is a pretty smart guy. He’s the assistant director of our lab and if you have data you want analyzed – well, let’s just say Bob can make numbers dance like Margarita-soaked writers at a gay karaoke bar. (A comparison which, if you were at a certain nightspot during the Romance Writer’s of America convention in Atlanta a couple years back, would impress heck out of you.)
The other day, Bob voiced his opinion that writers are Interpreters of the Cosmos. After immediately deciding that he’d never read anything of mine since I have enough trouble interpreting the washing instruction tags on my clothes let alone the cosmos, I gave his idea some thought.
If one defines “cosmos” as the world around us, then what Bob says makes absolute sense. Each story is a lens through which the writer explores human interaction and shares their world view with us.
Mary Janice Davidson makes us laugh as we ride along with Betsy, a woman/vampire dealing with a world and a position of power she doesn’t want. Nora Roberts enthralls us as we grow with Eve Dallas, a tough, honest cop learning to love and overcome extreme childhood abuse. Suzanne Brockman takes us into the hearts and minds of the men and women warriors who fight for us. These authors interpret our world in fresh and inventive ways. They give us insight into human nature and light corners that might otherwise have remained dark.
Carl Sagan helped us navigate the mysteries of the ever-expanding universe, but writers can show us new paths through the world we walk every day. They truly could be considered Interpreters of the Cosmos.
Like I said, Bob is a pretty smart guy.
Okay, so of course I started to think about books that have impacted my view of life. The first thing that came to mind was the Fellowship of the Ring. I devoured the series, caught up in the adventure. But I was also engaged by Tolkein’s view of the cosmos - his belief in good triumphing over evil, the power of community and trusted friends, the necessity to persevere even when you don’t believe you can reach your goal.
How about you? What books or authors have Interpreted the Cosmos for you and changed or affirmed the way you think about the world?