“The difference between fact and fiction is that fiction must be believable.”–Mark Twain
Have you ever noticed that we suspend our beliefs for the sake of entertainment? Don’t think so? How much murder and mayhem do you think happens in Las Vegas? And how often do police anywhere catch the criminal within an hour? But we’re willing to believe it will happen week after week so that we can be entertained. (By the way, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been on the air since 2000. That’s a lot of Vegas crime solved in less than sixty minutes!)
However, what if I told you that in 2003, twenty-four people died from inhaling popcorn fumes? Admit it, you wouldn’t believe me. According to “Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die” by Michael Largo, it’s true.
And it’s still not believable.
I think Mark Twain was on to something when he said the quote above. I imagine he was struggling with the description of some bend in the Missouri River and he wanted to write it the way he really saw it. Then he realized no one would believe that.
Believability isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, though. That spark of wonder so often seen in a child’s eye gets lost when “truth” is discovered. How different does a child look at snowfall? They see a new world where an adult sees hours of shoveling.
As the seasons start to change, let’s look for a little more wonder in the world. I’ll bet we learn things about ourselves we never would have imagined.
Oh, and grab a few works of amazing fiction while you’re at it. (Might I suggest my fellow Second Wind authors?) You may find that the things you see in the “real world” are more difficult to believe than the novels.
P.S. I’d like to take a moment to thank those who either “gave some” or “gave all” on this Memorial Day. You—and your families—have my eternal gratitude.