I spend a lot of time in the fictional world. Books, movies, t.v. shows. What happens to fictional characters matters to me. I revisit my favorite pages, relive my favorite scenes and I take pleasure in the happiness of beloved characters. They struggle, they strive, and they achieve. They make connections, break them, and make new ones. They go on adventures, travel, create stories to tell. And I immerse myself in them.
But then, when the time comes, as it always does, to close the pages, turn off the imaginative world, I’m disappointed. Disappointed to return to my reality. I always bemoan the fact that reality is never as exciting as the lives of those fictional characters. I’m repeatedly forced to face the fact that when my reality is compared with theirs, mine is always going to disappoint.
But I wondered…if I disappoint reality. If I disappoint the people in my reality, that is. Things can get pretty bad. Misfortunes never strike just once. And I’m always inclined at these times to stick my head in the sand. To pick the nearest book, dive into the nearest alternate reality and forget about mine. I always want to escape. It feels like cowardice sometimes. And at other times it feels like relief.
Maybe I shouldn’t use books as a floatation device. I remember when I was younger and just learning to swim. I’d grasp the side of the pool, attempt a few measly strokes and then go back to grasping the wall again. My teacher(s) repeatedly said that, if I clung to the sides I would never actually swim forward. Sometimes I wonder if books are my Wall. Are they holding me back?
But how can they be? I love them. They make me feel things I could never feel otherwise in this small part of reality that is mine.
Whatever. I don’t even know what I’m saying. Maybe I need to get what’s in my head out. Maybe that’s what this is. I’m reading all these words that have been in other people’s heads and I’m stunned, awed and impressed. And I want to get mine out. Make them live, too, as others have made theirs live. They’ve made their imagination into reality. And I want to do that, too. I will.