I have been writing poems and short stories for years, some of which I have published independantly. I also blog. Writing is a loved hobby.
Imagination Which Inspires
Sometimes, I wonder if my real-life experiences influence my fictional works, or if my fictional efforts influence my everyday life.
For example, once I was writing about a really goofy character in a fairy-tale setting. I had fun writing him, but I had to dig deep to unearth my own goofy-factor in order to give the character justice.
I might have a great sense of humor - oh hush, yes I do - but goofy I am not. If I was, it was quite by accident. I’ll also put up my short story featuring this particular goofy character, unimaginably named Simple Simon, someday.
Anyway, after I had finished writing for the day, I was still in goofy mode for a few hours, so much so that I bumbled around in my kitchen when cooking dinner. Now, I wouldn’t say that I am the most graceful person, but I am not clumsy either.
Here's how it went: I accidentally hit my knuckles a few times with the knife’s handle; I almost forgot to put oil on the frying pan before frying, Then, I almost forgot to put salt in the food (I like salt in my food, yes I do), and I didn’t even notice the dirty dishes piling up in the sink until I ran out of room to wash a dirty cup. The worst thing to almost happen was I was about to pour the cup of dirty water into my steaming stew when my mind came back to me just in time!
It was a bizarre moment, trust me on that, nothing funny about it at all!
Well, thank goodness everything ended well and the food was edible, so it wasn’t a lost cause. I dread to even think about it, because I do take my cooking and my food seriously, the more you know.
That however does beg the question, that if I take my food seriously, than how was the preparation of it almost affected by my fictional character?
It’s all in the mind, you see. It also goes to show how much a writer takes her works seriously.
I do not know about other writers or what their whole game-plans consist of, but I have myself figured out. For all that I have decided to not force my thoughts, I do always find that once I immerse myself into writing, it will take a lot to drag me out of my head-space.
However, the lesson of ‘the food which was almost ruined’ awaken me to the fact that I must draw the line between reality and fiction.
As CS Lewis Tells It
If I recall correctly, I believe I read once that Stephen King, the Master of Horror, was so into his own horror-filled books that he sometimes had nightmares. There was an interview he did where he said that he was afraid to go to sleep sometimes; and there were incidences where he said that he saw a few of his more malevolent creations during his waking hours.
I cannot imagine a man being so frightened and influenced by his own creation, he lived a nightmare because of it. Why didn’t he stopped? One could argue that he loved writing horror stories. One could also argue that he didn’t know how or when to stop. And one could say that this was his life, terrible as it might be for some people. Millions of money is not worth giving up peace of mind and sanity.
Where do we, as the writer, draw the line between reality and fiction within our own life? Or can we just let our imagination inspire our fantasy without leaving our sanity and connection to the real world?
I love C.S. Lewis’ books The Chronicles Of Narnia. These are among my favorite all-time books to read, and I watched all the movie adaptions made by Hollywood.
When I was a child and reading the books for the first time, I fantasized about living in Narnia and making friends with the Talking Animals. I imagined riding on the back of a Flying Horse, or talking to a Unicorn, or fighting beside a ferocious but brave Mouse. Also, I thought of the Sea Folks, the Nymphs and Dryads and wished that they actually did exist on Earth. I imagined being at The Last Battle. I just wanted to eat bacon and mushrooms with the friendly Dwarfs and Badgers, and maybe dance with the Fauns.
It is forever a great moment, getting lost in the pages of Lewis’s fantastical books. He created a great Place which appeals to the perpetual child within the reader whom wishes to live in a Fantasy World.
And a Fantasy World it is too, amazing and wonderful, but still a fantasy. Once I close the book, I see my World, and it is not Narnia. That makes the act of reading the books more enjoyable. It is different, for all that it is strange and unreal.
It is so with writing the fictional stories. You are inspired by reality and how you want things to be, or how you imagine them to be, and you put them in your stories. All the while, you keep both feet firmly on the ground.
Grounded In Reality
So, yes, do what you love, but live. Live in what you love, whom you love, with what you love, with whom you love.
Let it be also, that that which you love will not give you nightmares, but is a conduit in reality by which you release your thoughts and creativity, by building a home for them within the pages of your books. Then once you close the book, you see your real world, but you live with pleasure because your books give you something to look forward to, if only to escape for a little while.
Reality stays, fiction is made up. One you hold on to, the other you learn to let go when the time comes. One you build, the other you create. (But don’t they sound the same? Maybe.) This also, is your responsibility to yourself. Let your mind be fresh and clean, so when a new day comes, you can begin a new chapter.
I might not necessarily be talking about a literal book, but one’s specific life in its entirety. But this, is a topic for another day.
And now writer, let your imagination fly, and create your world.
© 2020 Lynne Samuel