The way I see it books of fiction, not including fantasy, are based with experiences or imagination but modified. That’s why they aren’t non-fiction, although one could argue some non-fiction books based in history are subject to the research of the writer which itself can be tainted and not wholly factual. In the reality of the life in general people try and avoid it and lie to others and themselves to make it through day to day.
Reality in fiction
In any writing that I’ve done, either here or in pursuit of producing a work of literature more than a few pages, I take what I know and what I’ve learned, or think I know and learned, and try to apply it to a fictional world and life of someone else to make a new fictional reality, one in which I hope that someone reading it would lose themselves and experience a possibility that I tried to relate to and they might find themselves empathizing with. Wow. Long sentence and probably grammatically wrong in there somewhere.
Poetry, short stories, novellas, plays, novels. All the same as far as writing goes for me and how I approached them as above. A better writer may do more research to create their world and characters. If/when I get around to either cleaning up something I’ve written or more likely writing something new, maybe I’ll find out for myself if I can do it from my head and ego or do I need to do some intense research to make it through my own fake world.
Fiction in Reality
*Disclaimer* I have a tv but I can’t remember the last show I actually followed or watched. It was a choice to stop since I found myself trying to keep up with shows instead of living my life and that darn HDDVR seemed to become the center of my world. The struggle to get through the shows before it filled up and deleted something I hadn’t seen. Now I rarely turn on the tv for a show. It’s mainly for watching movies.
Why are there so many reality tv shows out there? Why are we fascinated by the lives of others that are possibly so removed from our own that we can’t really make a connection? I can’t say that I empathize with a rich single attractive bachelor with scores of (mostly) hot women that seem to be willing to do just about anything to have him pick her for a lifetime of supposedly blissful happiness. The thing is I’ve probably only seen a handful episodes and only then because someone else was watching it at the time. The bachelorette, survivor, 16 and pregnant, toddlers and tiaras, the amazing race, the biggest loser, kate (and john) plus 8, top chef, hells’ kitchen, extreme home makeover, undercover boss, cops, celebrity apprentice, and the list can go on and on.
On a personal level I find some of these shows not to be so bad and others make me want to puke and question if man will one day be ‘civilized’ before we die off from a nuclear disaster or a biological experiment gone wrong. Not necessarily bioterrorism. It could be something genetically modified that is thought to be harmless.
What about those shows that aren’t ‘reality’ themed in nature but just a regular tv show. Breaking bad, in plain sight, heroes, six feet under, mad men, etc. I think I could argue these are in their own way reality style shows. It seems to be a difference in the level of fakeness. In heroes, there is a fictional reality based in the possible sci-fi of genetics. In the sopranos, they took a fictional mob family and ran with it. Both of these are based on some sense of a past, present or future reality. How is that much different from the biggest loser where people are placed in a fictional world where all expenses are taken care of, they don’t work or have to pay for meals and the services of a personal trainer to possibly lose me in weight. Then they go home at some point either from losing or at the end and they must maintain themselves. I don’t know how many actually continue on their own and keep off the weight. It still seems like a constructed fake reality. I can empathize with the desire and need to get back into shape and I face the reality of it each and every moment. I remember my father and his weight and I struggle to force myself into a better shape. For my own health, as an example to others and because I superficially just want to look better in the mirror.
Reality from Fiction
The reality in the fiction of any denial I have is that I have work to do. There is no fiction in this reality on mine that I can avoid. While reading and education can help me learn how to help myself, no amount of tv watching or news reading will take a single calorie off my gut if I don’t do it myself. But perhaps, just maybe, sometimes we can use fiction to create a new reality. The elite athlete might lie to himself by saying that he is the best or fastest to get his mind into the right place and maybe create a reality where he does win. A state of mind helping one to achieve a goal. I can envision myself in a time and place where I was thin and in good shape and could run a sub-20 minute 5k and can use that to motivate myself to keep working on myself. I was there once, why can’t I get close to it again? I don’t think I’ll easily get back to that person but why not make a good effort at it.
-Santa’s Fallen Angel