When truth is stranger than fiction
As we limp toward election day this graffiti art in Cuba about sums up the way I (and many others) feel about the divisiveness around us. Families divided. Friends no longer speaking to one another. Couples splitting up. America severed through the middle like a lacerated pig.
A bleed out, people.
And we all have blood on our hands either from not caring enough or caring so much to negate intelligent and peaceful conversation and debate.
Which leads me to imperfect characters, real and imagined. It’s one thing to create incredibly flawed human beings on the page and another to come up against them in real life. Politics and politicians make great story lines (i.e. “House of Cards,” “Hamilton”), but the reality television world we have come to think of as a meaningful example of how we should conduct our lives is just plain scary.
I wish I had come up with the idea for a novel pitting a reality TV star with questionable business dealings, the father of five from three different mothers, a narcissist with small groping paws, a bad fake tan, and a sniffing problem against a former First Lady and Secretary of State who helped take out Osama Bin Laden but admittedly not tech savvy and negligent with emails and servers, a mother and wife who forgave her President husband years ago for infidelities that would have sent any woman I know running for the hills. This book has all the elements of a bestseller by Tom Clancy.
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” Yes, Tom Clancy, it surely does, and I’m sure you could make this so.
However, we are in the midst of a real-life presidential election, dear reader, where truth is stranger than fiction. Lately, I’ve found myself hating social media. The politics, the cat videos, the quizzes to see who you were in an afterlife, or the ones that suggest you share some sappy quotation or the wrath of God will strike you down. The present is hard enough to live in without taking on the angst and doom or utter stupidity of social media’s likes and shares. And I’m just as guilty for oversharing, not caring, or just plain in your face rudeness.
This past summer I used social media to sell my book. To sell me and my lies (novel). Much different than the political candidates or the ambulance chasing TV lawyers even though we’re all hawking something. What I cannot believe is how low the bar has been set for civility. I feel ambushed by dread. Dread and dreams of dead loved ones acting like they don’t know me. Maybe they’re mad I put them in my book?
I think we’re all exhausted by the noise. I know I am. Yet we answer the alarm, check our email, brush our teeth, listen to the news, and go forth into the world hoping to make it back intact at the end of the day only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. That’s the truth most of us live.
Good luck to you my brave readers. Go forth and vote. Remember you can’t complain for four years if you sit on your ass and do nothing.
Oh, November 9th, you can’t come soon enough.