Monday, May 6, 2013

Skinny Lives. Fat Indulgence.

On Friday I was discussing fantasy literature with my Mom (an intelligent woman, might I add), and some of its criticism she had read in a book review.

She brought up a really valid point:  Authors of fantasy and fiction are forced to illustrate their ideas with a strong connection to reality, and non-fiction authors have to present "unbelievable" and explicit stories to have success. What do I mean by that?

How many times have you watched a science fiction movie, and someone said, "There's no WAY that could ever happen.  So unrealistic"?  

Or perhaps you've noticed that folklore and fairytales have been kicked to the kids' curb.  We want tangible stories.  We want them to be believable and real.  Because we're losing the ability to imagine and sustain creativity.  It has to be presented to us in a way that our minds will readily accept it; no work involved.  

Then you have the based-on-a-true-story stories.  We want to hear the nitty gritty stuff that makes us cringe and share it with our friends.  There's something innate within us--that I don't want to try and dive into right now--that craves that kind of alternate reality within reality.  Life, for the most part, is pretty ordinary.  I don't know about you, but I wake up, eat breakfast, go to work from 5:00 a.m. until class starts at 10:00, study some, eat some more, climb a little, socialize, and sleep some more.  

So indulging in the extraordinary parts of someone else's life gives me a weird thrill.  Does it do the same for you?  I would think so.  


  1. I appreciate how you've called out how we don't want to read and hear about fairy tales and folklore, and desire to read more on things that are realistic. I remember growing up with my mother reading nursery rhymes to me as a young boy. I am actually thankful she did that for me. I have a book of fables and fairy tales on my book shelf, and I intend to read them to my children.
    As Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." And it's certainly true. If men and women from the past never used their imaginations we wouldn't so technologically advanced as we are now, and most common citizens probably wouldn't be able to read and write.

  2. I really liked the defense of fiction in the Delbanco and Cheuse textbook on page 149. "...When troubled, we like to imagine that there is only one law of life, the law of narrative order. What he meant is that we tend to view our lives as meaningful, and endowed with the same kind of narrative coherence found in good fiction. ...Reading fiction gives us the notice how we put together the elements of our own stories--our family or friends, our emotions, our decisions, and our hopes--in order to try to understand who we are, where we have come from, and where we might be going." When I read that, i was like, yeah, that definitely factors into my love for reading. Although, I think the imaginative stuff can do it as well as the more life-like stuff as long as it's follows your basic cause and effect. That's why I too just love Neil Gaiman!

    PS You're a climber? I'd love to get back into that. (It's been a while.) Can we climb sometime?

    1. Danielle Carter, guuurl. I live at the mouth of Rock Canyon. What's up. Let's go climbin'.

  3. In some ways this is why I don't like fantasy. The characters go along all experiencing life, practically in the reality I pretend to live in. Then everyone dies, but comes back to life. How? Why? Well, because magic. It's a little unfair.

  4. Hey thanks for the post Jamie! I definitely had loose thoughts about this before but have never really formulated them, so thanks for doing it for me! I think that we all love experiencing new and unreal, yet possible things even if it may be through a secondary source.