Viewing the world anew
This summer, I took two of my sons to a sporting event in the Netherlands–they won medals, we hung out with their team-mates and other parents then, when it was all over, we stayed on for a few days. I’m from Europe, and there’s something about going back that is like a balm: seeing tiny cars instead of streets full of SUVs, noticing the charging stations for electric vehicles that are only slowly making their way into the US. But it’s more than noticing different approaches to the threat of climate change that means so much to me: simply being in another country where the food is different (A hamburger with egg? Yes, and it was delicious), where the language is like a puzzle for us English-speakers to work out (cheese is kaas, egg is ei, thank you is dank u well) means that you simply have to pay more attention to the world around you. The work of fiction is the same essential task: to allow us to see a familiar world that our eyes glide over in ways that make it slightly unknown, slightly strange, to turn it back into a world that deserves our attention.