I spoke to a college professor recently in regard to a matter unrelated to writing. In the course of the discussion, however, it came out that I am a writer, and he asked, "What sort of things do you write?"
When I answered, there was a pause, as he searched for something to say. "Oh. That's interesting," was all he could come up with. Then he asked how the weather was in Michigan. No segue.
It's hard to get used to the idea that many people consider fiction writing to be declasse. I suppose if I called my work literary fiction I'd get more respect, but I'd be lying, so that isn't good. The snobby idea that fiction is a waste of reading time cracks me up, especially with the deluge of self-righteous, sensational, highly biased personal opinion currently being published under the heading of nonfiction.
I think fiction writers are more clever than nonfiction writers. We don't say, "Here's my opinion of the way the world is." We present our idea of the world, whatever one we choose, in a form that's fun and non-threatening. The reader can say to herself, "I'll bet that's just the way (in my case) Scotland was back then," or dismiss it if it doesn't jibe with her view. "It's just a story." And if she got a few hours' diversion out of it, we both win.