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Literature as a way of seeing

I came across an interesting post on how stories can help both the writer and the reader see the world in a different light:

Literature as a way of seeing, by Helon Habila

On art and seeing:

“Art, and indeed life itself, is a way of seeing. There is looking at a thing, and then there is seeing a thing; the two are totally different. We look with our eyes, but it takes more than eyes to really see. This is a subject I find myself coming back to over and over again in my writing and in my thinking; and I find that, as a metaphor, it can be extended to most everyday situations. Oppression and poverty have always been with us, but how many among us can claim to have really seen the poor and the powerless, not just look at them, but truly see them?”

The motivations of a writer:

“The writer enlarges our sympathies by making us see ourselves better, but first he must see himself better in his own work. For regardless of how extroverted and socially oriented we may be in our writing, we write first and foremost for ourselves; we write to answer the most niggling questions bothering us…”

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