It’s alive

“I like to read about things that are real.”

My friend looked away as he said that to me. He felt embarrassed because my new novel was sitting untouched on his desk. He felt compelled to explain why he hadn’t opened it. He doesn’t read fiction, not unless it’s jammed down his throat.

I didn’t object. Number one, he had bought the book, with actual cash. Two, he was cooking dinner for me and my family. Three, I don’t jam things down people’s throats except on the page, and then generally only if the character deserves it. But my friend was wrong.

Love, death, anger, greed, envy, and crazy people running amok in California. That’s what’s in my books. What’s not real?

Yes, I know it’s all my own invention. But there’s something real in storytelling, which is why, despite the name of this blog, I don’t consider fiction a lie. It’s true, and it’s alive. And that’s one of the things I’ll be talking about here.

10 responses to “It’s alive

  1. Well, everything is just illusory and transient anyway, so what is truth? What is a lie?

  2. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

  3. This debate reminds me of Bill Hicks and his positive LSD story: “Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively; there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we’re the imagination of ourselves.”

    Although, no-one mentioned acid – but you get the idea…

  4. Matter as energy condensed to a slow vibration, with us as the imagination of ourselves? Sounds like an anti-Cartesian version of string theory. My problem is, these ideas tumble around inside my head and I’m not even remotely on acid.

  5. “anti-Cartesian version of string theory”: isn’t that what happens when the cat gets into the knitting? It’s an incomprehensible mess and the cat knows that you’re not an autonomous subject, although perhaps subject to his autonomy?

  6. “Isn’t that what happens when the cat gets into the knitting?” I don’t know. Is this Schrodinger’s cat?

  7. Yup–this is why Schrodinger’s cat ended up in the steel box in the first place.

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