I’ve been asked many times why I like to write fiction. Normally I just smile and say that, to me, letting my imagination take over is a wonderful feeling, that I get so many ideas at times I just have to let the story take hold and it’s like I’m in the backseat to whatever comes along; so it’s easier. However, there’s a more substantial reason: real life is scarier than anything I can pull out of my own head!
Sure, I can hear the scoffing now. After all, I’m the one who wrote about a character (a child) being severely burned, and another (in a different story, thankfully) having to deal with the issue of being an HIV affected teen after being horribly mistreated by his father. Hypocritical, right? No, not really. Sad to say, so many of those horrible things that are put into my writings are actually true. I’m not saying that I know of these case personally, and if I did I wouldn’t admit to it just on the off chance I could save what might be left of my sanity. But honestly, headlines do make the best muses at times, and doesn’t that shed a whole new light on things?
This week we’ve witnessed just how much of a powder keg our country could become. A young man took something he’d read off a website and implemented it into the encouragement he needed to do what he wanted for so very long, and it cost several families a steep price. Now the arguing begins of who is really at fault, the person who not so subtly incited the action? The person who sold the suspect the gun? The fortune teller down the street who didn’t pick up the phone to try to warn the victims? Yes, the last one was me being facetious, it’s something I do when I feel common sense has gone out the window and left no forwarding address.
For many years now I’ve watched as our politicians railed against each other, to the point of blatant disrespect for our Commander in Chief. I’ve watched as more and more power went from the people to the fear mongers who would rather incite a riot to increase ratings, while hiding behind an ‘entertainment label,’ than tell the whole truth. I’ve watched journalism become reduced to sound bites from iReports or youTube because it was the only way some people had to get the real news to the populous. I’ve watched as our country cracked, splintered and now is in the process of ripping itself apart all for the name of a few votes so once again the most popular, and not the most qualified, can get into an authoritative office.
If those in power, in journalism or even political entertainment talk shows had to make their points without pulling at the emotional aspect of our psyches, most of them would be out on their ears. I’ve listened to conservative and liberal media and have to shake my head at the complete disregard people have towards others. So many would rather you believe that all the woes of our country are due to one man currently in office, conveniently forgetting that it’s our own complacency that has gotten us to this point. When was the last time we took stock of what our elected officials have done, said or even how they behaved? When was the last time we called or emailed our representatives to let them know how we wanted them to vote and why? Now, how many of us stand at the voting booth, staring at our ballot and say something like, “Huh, not sure about these guys, but he/she sounds good… I like his/her name.” I’m an Independent. I’ve emailed my senators, congressmen, and even had one of my district’s state representatives in my home where we talked about the epidemic of MRSA in hospitals. I am not a politician, nor do I want to be. However, I do have a responsibility as a citizen to know exactly why I’m voting for someone and to communicate how I expect them to behave… and hold them accountable for their actions.
Real life is definitely crazier than fiction. For me, I’m a firm believer in happy ever afters, which surprises a lot of people who know me, whereas reality is messy and sometimes grotesquely cruel. In that case, shouldn’t we insist those representing us be held to a higher standard if for no other reason than to help balance the rest of us out, or the at the very least be the voice of reason when chaos and insanity makes an appearance? How can we not expect that something said by one of implied authority be taken seriously? And how can we not expect the same punishment for inciting what could easily be described as a hate crime be insisted upon just because it’s someone speaking in a manner of implied leadership.
I think I’ll leave these matters to those who have a better chance at understanding them. I for one am going back to my own little world where the most I have to worry about is diving into the darker and more demented parts of my mind to create my stories… its safer there.