Alex Gabriel

Writer. Reader. Romancer.

Fiction vs Reality

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I have never liked fiction to have too close a connection with my lived reality. As far as I can remember, this has always been the case, and it’s a general thing that extends to fiction of all kinds, from books to movies to epic poetry to song lyrics. I don’t want to recognize places, things, people or setting details that have a direct connection to my own life.

The reason I don’t want fiction to intersect with my own, lived reality is that when fiction comes too close to reality, it interferes with my suspension of disbelief. I want to get into a different universe with fiction, not be reminded of the real one. Allusions to or reminders of the real world take away from the reality of the fictional one; they puncture the autonomy of the fictional realm, dragging it too close to the real world and forcing it to reveal its lack of reality by too-close association.

The real world also suffers from this comparison, though in a different way. But there is often disappointment inherent in the fact that the real world is not the fictional one; that it is flat and ordinary and not as fantastical, not as colorful and exciting, dramatic and romantic and poetic.

I know this is different for other people – both readers and authors. Many other people actively like fiction to intersect with their reality; I assume this is because they read or write with different expectations, and perhaps have less of a tendency to use fiction as a fully immersive escape from reality.

By the way: In no way does this mean I dislike intertextuality in fiction, and/or fiction that breaks the fourth wall. Not at all! In fact, I love it when the narrative is stretched and experimented with in such a way, when its boundaries are tested and its conventions breached. For me, that is an intellectual game on a literary level; it has nothing to do with the details of my mundane, everyday existence.

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