Normal People and Not-Normal People

Even though I couldn’t read well when I was young I can now. Obviously, right? But now it’s often all I want to do. I love stories and characters and adventures. Sometimes I like adventures more than characters and other times characters more than adventures. I think this is why we have genres in fiction at all. People are multifaceted so they need thrillers and fantasy and science fiction, and some even need romance, and on the other side of all those things they also need literature.

It fulfills similar needs, but different aspects of being human. It’s like this: great people do profound things that change the world, but profound things happen to normal people all the time in the quiet of their own little lives, and these profound things and important moments for “normal people” are just as interesting when it comes to a study of the human condition as is the profound things geniuses do. That’s why stories of grand adventures and magnificent people are popular, but it’s also why the man who sips his tea and goes through an existential crisis at the same time in literary fiction is just as valuable–maybe more so.

I think, sometimes, it’s those little moments that feel the most momentous to normal people like myself. I don’t know if you’re normal or not, but if you are then you’ll understand, and if you’re not normal, then congratulations for not being a conformist. I don’t know if it’s good or bad to be normal–normal people can understand each other in some ways and not in others and I think not-normal people sometimes (but not always) can’t understand anyone ever. Or at least less frequently. But, you know what’s really funny? Nobody, normal and not-normal people, can understand themselves at all. So in the end everyone has this one thing in common: we don’t understand why we do what we do or why we feel how we feel. But a lot of the time we can understand why other people feel a certain way, and sometimes we might even say this, but rarely, and even more rarely the other person we can understand might actually believe us.

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