Fictional Lives

I checked in on the blog of the Local Writer Who Hates My Guts (LWWHMG) after an extended leave –

She’s still at it, and still mentions me, which I guess I should be flattered by.  I’m certain this one will send her into a new wave of venomous assaults at me.  Whatever . . . here I go anyway.

I was reading along and I was struck by something that seemed – well, frankly – it just seemed weird.  She talks about she and her husband, and their children fledging the nest.  She goes on about how proud of their children they are.  So here’s the odd part – they’ve barely been married a year or two. I forget – I lose count.  Anyway – the point is, she has created this fiction of what her life is.  She didn’t raise those kids, and they share no kids in common.

It reminds me of the classic movie “Christmas in Connecticut” with Barbara Stanwyck:

Stanwyck plays a writer who has a column all about her lovely life on the farm in Connecticut where she is a fabulous cook and lives with her loving husband and adorable baby – and it’s all a crock.  She’s a single gal who lives in a tiny apartment in New York and she can’t boil water. Readers buy into her story to such an extent that when an injured WWII soldier returns from the war, he’s invited to go to the farm to meet the family – and of course, chaos ensues.

Switching gears for just a moment (I promise – it all ties together eventually)

My friend whom I’ve been mentoring and I were having a discussion just yesterday about our lives.  We both live pretty low-key existences; nothing outrageous really to talk about because we just aren’t those kind of people.  We’re both happily married; I have kids – he has dogs; we both have jobs we tolerate because they allow us to write.   A lot of writers I know are like this.  Not all of them, of course, but I’d venture that the vast majority are pretty average folks.  The conversation we had was based on this worry that we might be boring. The result was, neither of us much cared – we preferred to save our energies for our stories.

This is not to say we don’t have some fun and do some interesting things. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot in my life. I’ve taken my family to Mexico, Hawaii and on several stateside trips as well. I’ve sky dived, scuba dived, river rafted, hot air ballooned, skied, snow mobiled, and snowshoed.  I’ve had plenty of experiences to draw from, so when I sit down to create a story, I don’t have to go far to dig up what I need for emotion or action.

But I don’t do it in my blog, or when I talk to people, or when I work with other writers, or whatever.  I don’t need to.  My life is my life – I don’t need to fictionalize it.  And for me, the truth is that if I were spending a lot of time and energy creating fiction here, what would be left for when I needed it in a story? Sure – I’d have a lot left over.  I haven’t run out of ideas for writing yet. But the other thing is – what’s the point? That’s the part I can’t answer – and I don’t really want to.

There are times when writing fiction is what I’m all about, but here in my blog (because I write a nonfiction blog), isn’t one of them.

Now – let me say outright that I don’t much care what someone says in their blog, unless it’s outright hate speech or somehow threatening to me or someone I know. So if the LWWHMG wants to over-glamorize her life, meh – it’s not much to me one way or the other.  I don’t check in often enough to worry about it.  It’s just a bizarre concept to me that makes me wonder: if you’ll over play your hand on the unimportant writing – what are you doing in the stuff that actually matters?

Just a thought –


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