I have a pretty strict rule: I rarely talk politics in a way that expresses my own beliefs or leanings. I certainly don’t talk politics in my professional capacity or even much on a personal level, including with most family members and friends.

Part of that is my history as a journalist. When I was coming up in journalism, we were taught not to do anything that would imply a bias that could influence our reporting. No supporting candidates or displaying political collateral materials or even volunteering.

Some journalists feel that’s an infringement on their personal rights. I never did. I still don’t. I find conversations much more interesting (and people much more open) when they don’t know where I stand on the topic. They assume I resonate with them, so they are less guarded in communicating their thoughts and beliefs. Sometimes, I do agree with them. Others, I don’t. But I always learn something new about why people think the way they do and what influences their decisions.

Now, if their beliefs are rooted in false information, I’ll point that out. And because I’ve stayed neutral, they tend to listen. Sometimes, they even change their minds when presented with facts from a neutral party.

At least, that’s been my experience.

Granted, this has all gotten harder the past few years with as fractured as our society’s politics have become. But that’s also why it’s so much more important, in my opinion, to listen first.

Or, you know, just read something about politics that you know is fiction.

Although I might not talk politics, Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes very powerful fiction that can be decidedly political. And it is through fiction that some of the most transformative political discussions can happen.

Kris’ latest story, “The Trendy Bar Side of Life,” is one such piece of fiction. It’s a dark crime story, and it’s her Free Fiction for the week.

Here’s the synopsis:

When the newcomer walks into D’s bar, she wonders why. Strangers don’t walk into D’s bar often. But something about this stranger seems familiar. Reminds her of her past. And just might threaten her future.

Click here to read the story for free this week only.

And whatever your politics may be, I wish you a good week. Sticking with fiction reading for a while might help.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.