The beauty of fiction is that you can say all the things you wanted to say, then shrug and tell people, It’s fiction. It’s like being in the confessional booth with a stuffed bear. Father, forgive me. I put a saber between the ribs of my neighbor’s hound dog for defecating on my lawn today. Go in peace, my son, and sin no more…
What? You say that story resembles a moment when you pissed me off so badly that I wanted to call down the host of heaven to peck your eyes out and eat your flesh in thousands of little bites so that you’d feel the pain long enough to satiate my wrath? Why, you misunderstand me, that was fiction.
Fiction is everything you want to do and everything you wouldn’t do, all jumbled up like borscht so that no one recognizes which is blood and which is beets. And that, my friends, is a safe space. In fiction I can be the strong, courageous person I want to be. Things turn out the way they should. Writing fiction is like being governor in my own utopian state.
Fiction, for me is The Best Lie.
And the best lies are mostly true. I once used that statement to refer to the story of Jesus, and the pastor trying to lead me through the narrow gate nearly fell out of his seat. But lest we of faith get all bent out of shape that I speak of lies… Fiction, which is a contractual agreement that I’m-going-to-lie-to-you-and-you’re-going-to-be-good-with-it, can explore truth in ways that an I-essay can’t. Fiction is the couch and the therapist whose oath of secrecy means he can’t tattle on me as I offload my baggage. I throw out my grenades and hope my therapist will still be there when the dust clears. It’s that way with God, too. God knows which is blood and which is beets, and He still loves us. Think about that for a moment.
And when the dust clears, after writing something that’s beautiful and mostly true and the parts that aren’t would be, were this heaven or my utopia– when that happens… it’s glorious.