Tracy Hickman, a writer I greatly admire, wrote an interesting blog the other day about the new TV series Once Upon a Time. He gave a brief synopsis of the story that went like this: “It is about an Evil Queen in a fantasy world filled with fairytale characters all of whom she curses with the most terrible of magical spells … condemning them to live their lives in our reality and not remembering their true, better selves.”
That resonated with me because what are we if not magical creatures living in this reality and unaware of, and not remembering our true, better selves?
Tracy Hickman related it to writing and how some people want to write the ideal, and some people want to write the reality. I tend to dabble a little in both–taking a character through the reality so they can reach the destination of the ideal.
In the national market I get some eye-rolling because they say I am naive, or that I’m too idealistic. They tell me I’m wrong because that isn’t reality. Reality is the evil of the world. Reality is the hard times, the persecution, the abuse, the hopelessness, the cutting, the suicide, the hate crimes. I write for the teen market–where it’s popular to write about gritty “realistic” details. Many of my contemporaries focus on the drugs, sex, violence. And they applaud each other for being so brave as to write reality. Sometimes it feels lonely writing the positive sides of youth–the sides where they get the chance to become, or to at least glimpse, their better selves
But Tracy’s post made me think. What if they’ve got it all wrong? What if the ideal is the reality? I believe in the pre-existence. I believe in a post mortal existence. I believe I am in an interim–and in the grand spectrum of things, it’s a relatively short interim. So will I call this short eye-blink existence that is sometimes hard, sometimes cause for despair, my reality? And will I write from only that narrow short-sighted perspective? Or will I write the grand scheme reality–the place where people have the chances to ultimately be their better selves?
In this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for the positive things. The things that are beautiful, that shine with potential, that glimmer with that memory of our better selves. And as we move on to Christmas, I will enjoy watching as people strive to be their better selves for the holiday. It’s a good time of year–a great time to remember that reality is exactly what we think it is.