I'm working on my speech for Orlando, and came across these very clarifying thoughts from Heidegger's essay "The Origin and Work of Art":
To make a work of art means to set up a world.
The work (of art) is not the reproduction of some particular entity; it is, on the contrary, the reproduction of that thing's essence.
In other words, art doesn't bother with telling you literally how things look. Or, in a story, to describe the entire world around a character. The assumption is that we already have the actual things amongst us but that their very reality obscures what they really mean. Art, helps us to see what those things mean...their place in the Cosmos, so to speak.
I see this dove-tailing perfectly with Flannery's contention that in art, "A certain distortion is necessary to get at the truth."
Art is in this sense, better than the real.