I would have loved to begin this piece by saying that what defines a writer (personality, style, outlook on life, perspective, thought patterns, etc) is the genre chosen by the writer to major on. And at first glance it seems rightly so. A writer that writes thrillers tends to see the uncanny message hidden in even the simplest things. A writer that writes romance tends to see the drama, or the sweetness, in the littlest things.
But the truth is; the same goes for the readers. Writers box themselves by writing a particular genre, thereby boxing the readers also. Readers won’t exalt any other genre above their favorite, and over time, this begins to shape the way they live, much like the writers whose work they consume. Very shortly, we begin to consider life in genres. Some people live for Adventure. Some live for Love (Romance). Some live for Mystery. Some live for Suspense, not knowing what comes next, taking life, and discovering it one step at a time. Some can’t have life without a little Drama. Some can’t have it without Comedy.
I unveil to us all, today, a new genre. And I call it Life. What writers have been able to do is break life into their favorite categories, but truth be told, Life is all genres. Ever ask yourself what summer and winter have in common. I have the answer; they are both seasons. While we feel comfortable as girls sitting in front of the glowing TV screen watching a chick flick, we cannot deny the fact that at one point or the other in our lives we have faced fear. While we as macho men are all about the whistling bullets peeling through the air, and the bar fights, we cannot deny the butterfly swirling in our tummies over that pretty, little damsel we have been trying to build the courage to talk to.
A genre is nothing but a section of life. When we pick a genre as our favorite, we shut our hearts and minds to the others. But in truth, Life is one big genre. In it we have ups and down, just like a rollercoaster. In it we find tragedies. In it we find joy. In it we find terror. In it we find comedy. In it we find war.
In it we find peace.
I sat down one afternoon and began thinking about the power of a story. The power of fiction—guess that could also be the title of this post.
I sat on this day and thought to myself, If it’s impossible in real life, it’s possible in a story. If it’s impossible in a story, it’s impossible in real life.
To put it in a simpler form, fiction makes the impossible possible. I’m one of those folks that believe in the supernatural and the paranormal, you can’t convince me otherwise. I seen, and heard, of some pretty bizarre stuff because of my background. But even with the existence of the supernatural, some things are without a doubt farfetched. For example, a man not being able to distinguish the real world from a dream world (Ted Dekker’s Circle Series), or a writer’s pseudonym—who might have as well been a potential twin he gobbled up in his mother’s womb—coming to life to haunt him (Stephen King’s The Dark Half). These are all impossible scenarios in the real world.
Even though I did mention that what is impossible in fiction is definitely impossible in real life, I’m yet to find a scenario that is totally impossible to tell in a story. In a story I can single handedly amass a great following and become the president of Africa, yes, the entire continent. Nothing’s impossible in a story.
I dare say that even Jesus knew the power of a good story which is why he spoke in parables, an archaic word for fiction if you ask me.
No one wants to see reality being mimicked event-for-event in a story. It is why I say “The world is not enough, so I create an alternate.”
Shocked by the news of the death of one of my childhood heroes, Neil Armstrong, I write this post in honor of his tremendous work to humanity. As a little kid, I don’t think there was any profession I didn’t consider going into, but on the top of my list at a point was being an astronaut. What can I say, every child dreams. Today, however, I’m freaked by the concept of airplanes, not to talk of space shuttles.
So how does Neil Armstrong, Man On the Moon, link with writing? Actually, I’m linking him with reading in my own small way. Neil Armstrong to me is the human representation of the word “Discovery.”
“That’s one small step for man, and a giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong said, having taken his first steps on the moon.
Alright. Enough jabbering. What’s my point? Apart from a means of escape, I feel reading is also a means of discovery. One small step, for the reader, might be walking into a bookstore and picking up a book by their favorite author. But your giant leap comes when you leap into the pages of that book and discover a whole new world. Books have the capability to make you discover more about everything, even yourself. It unearths secrets you never knew about you, and about your world.
Our job is to take you to the moon and back.