Crowley, John. “Practicing the Arts of Peace.” Conjunctions no. 46 (2006): 213-230.￼
This article is a personal essay on the power of storytelling in the face of violence, conflict, and grief. Author John Crowley, who is both an academic and a fiction author, specifically examines fantasy and escapism, and their ability to bring joy in otherwise dark times. Throughout the essay, which cites both work by established fantasy and science fiction authors as well as his own novels, Crowley emphasizes the power storytelling has to contribute to inner peace in times of conflict, trauma, or grief.
More than anything else, storytelling and fiction convince us that we are not alone. We can read about the very same emotions and experiences that we ourselves have had, and in following the characters who share our humanity we can learn lessons about our own behavior and habits. When stories are pessimistic or dour, we learn that we also should be this way. When they ask us to find joy in dark times, we’re inspired to do so. Crowley argues that storytelling is an especially effective way to find and obtain personal peace, even in the depths of some violence, sadness, or darkness.