Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Sometimes in the same monologue

“You find the short story unbelievable? Oh, good! I was afraid people would think it actually happened. What, you think unbelievable fiction is bad? I say thinking fiction happened is much worse. I want people to think I made it up. I’m the creator, not the reporter. I don’t write what happened or what could happen – if you want that head over to the Non-Fiction section, which routinely outsells Fiction, so I can’t imagine you’ve never heard of it. No, my fiction is there to let me write what I’d like to happen, or what I very much don’t want to happen. Sometimes at the same time. Sometimes in the same sentence. Why even bother having a creative drive in my head if all I’m just going to report what I think is plausible in made-up stories? That’s why the story opens with a woman knocking over a man and falling in love at first sight as he asks her to get off of him. It’s funny and it leads to a relationship that I’d like to exist, but that can’t if it never enters anybody’s head as acceptable, and an alien idea can’t be acceptable until somebody brings it up. Every story needs its own internal truth, a personal plausibility, but realistic stories are dreadful. I don’t want to write them. I’m not particularly compelled to read them, because I have the cheaper and richer alternative of going outside for all the reality I can eat. I passed Journalism in college, but passed it even more enthusiastically as a career choice. If it’s unbelievable, implausible and downright ludicrous, then let’s have a look at it. It might be funny, terrifying, or both, or neither but having some other quality worth examining, or at least experiencing. Experiencing what we don’t have – there’s a purpose for a creative drive. I don’t believe a prince of Denmark met his deceased father in the dead of night, and I most certainly don’t believe the two talked over the matter in English – but I still like Hamlet.”

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