Well as I was saying, I read about an experiment that made me see how important the writers and creators of stories really are.
I've lost the actual article so I'll just tell it as I remember it. A certain number of volunteer subjects were taken into a Uni lecture theatre and their blood was taken to measure for a variety of different chemicals and hormones. Then they were split off into three different groups.
Group 1 was taken to a room where they listened to a depressing lecture about the suicide rates of a drug taking subculture in a big city. Group 2 watched a documentary about Mother Teresa and her work in Calcutta. Group 3 were treated to a range of stories and legends told by some of the Christian saints throughout history. Then they all returned to the lecture theatre to have their blood measured again. And the findings were very interesting.
They found that harmful & stressful hormones and chemicals, such as cortisone, that adversely affect heart and blood pressure were elevated in the group who had listened to the drug statistics. The were pleasanter substances for the Mother Teresa group, but only one group tested consistently higher for the light-hearted, pleasant, happiness inducing chemicals. This was the group who had listened to the legends and stories from the saints.
I thought, Aha, there's proof that a good, uplifting story can have a physical impact on people. We who tell stories are not merely amusing people but helping enhance their health, along with those other helping professions. I've heard it said that if we can touch people's emotions to make them happy, that's as good as taking an aspirin (or maybe even a course of depression medication). I've always enjoyed snuggling down with a good book at the end of a long day. I've found that I can remember stories and the points they were making far better than I can recall a word of the text book knowledge I've tried to stuff into my brain over the years. Perhaps the human brain has been made to run on stories as easily as cars can run on petrol. When I heard this, I began to take my liking to write fiction more as a good thing. It's great to think that a good story can have a therapeutic effect on others.