Sorry to start this post like a bad valedictorian speech, but I’d like to define a word for you. I googled “reality” (I’m not high) and one answer was, “the state or quality of having existence or substance.” Fine. But then it goes on to exemplify this with, “youth, when death has no reality.”
What kind of cracked statement is that? Perhaps when you’re young you don’t perceive death as a real threat, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t one. However, it reminded me that reality, at least in part, is of our own making and perception. That’s probably why it’s possible for good fiction to become more than just make-believe.
“You can tell the deepest truths with the lies of fiction.” – Isabel Allende
Take Hamilton and *The Walking Dead. There are a billion examples of fiction imparting truth and effecting reality, but TWD premiered Sunday, and the day before, I went to see an organized karaoke event for the music of Hamilton. (I’m cooler than you.) So it’s all still fresh in my head.
One look at either of these phenomena’s fan bases and you’d swear they were watching reality unfold in their choice of fiction. Talking Dead, the after show for TWD, was basically a grief counseling session, with Chris Hardwick telling us, “Everything you are feeling is valid.” And the Hamilton karaoke was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen – people of all **ages coming together to celebrate ***historical fiction. I almost happy-cried 15 times.They both show what an impact fiction has on reality.
This isn’t my most well-organized post. I’ve been rocking a headache for 5 days straight, so my focus is mostly limited to exedrin and naps. But truth in fiction was on my mind and I thought I’d ramble on about it. It reminds me that, as a writer, I have a lot of responsibility to tell my story, and to accept whatever it becomes once it leaves my hands.
*Enjoy this linked video – a representation of me and my family watching TWD on Sunday.
**There was this little redhead at Hamiltunes who killed it. She knew every lyric of the ballads and raps and delivered with unadulterated sass. It blew my mind. Her confidence was so contagious that I became a fan-girl. Legit, I was nervous to talk to her because she was just that cool.
***Obviously, Hamilton is based in reality. Duh. We fought a war, won independence, and organized a nation. But without the musical rewrite from Lin-Manuel Miranda, we don’t necessarily get the same takeaway, which, in my opinion, is best described in the words of Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr): “All of us are more than one thing.” That’s the beauty of fiction – to find the inherent truth in events and bring it to the forefront.