Fiction surrounds us. We tell stories about our lives. We tell stories about our emotions. We tell stories about our history, our faith, our identities.
It’s all based on a true story. And none of it is truth.
The best stories get close to some truth. Not always the best sellers. Not aways most popular – at first. I mean the ones that last a long time. Some of them used tricks to get to the bestseller list. Hell and damnation. One Month to Slimmer Thighs. You know the tricks. I might even like some of them. But believe it or not, every human eventually gets tired of being lied to. The bestseller list is easy, just pander to the animal within. Promise sex. Encourage violence. Manipulate emotions. Staying there is hard. It takes pandering to the one true story we feel in our hearts. What is that story all about?
Well, some people have some pretty good ideas. It’s in the stories. The ones that last. The ones that come up again and again. The ones we tell when no one is forcing us to tell it. The ones we read again and again, passed down from our family, friends, or random strangers who call themselves artists. How can the words of dead people fill us with hope, and help us find answers to problems that have a million answers?
Better still, it’s in the questions those stories ask. The ones we have a hard time answering. The ones that we think we answer, but only produce more questions upon reflection. The answers are just stories that work for a moment. It’s the questions that are holy.
Questions bring us new stories. The more stories we have, the more questions get answered. The more answers we have, the better we survive. Stories make us stronger. We learn to separate the fun and fantastic from the too often ugly and unbearable details. Stories beget more stories.
The only true sin is crushing a person’s story with your own.
Stories, words, language, art, concepts. There’s a good reason you can’t find an honest politician. We’re all built on lies and illusion. We only understand the complexity of the universe with symbols and metaphor. The only thing we can know for sure is we’re not alone on this planet. Even that is sometimes suspect.
I’m nothing more or less than a long line of fiction creating more even stories. Worshiping the questions that happen in between, and the stories that come from us all.