Reality

It’s been snowing and raining all day and I have looked forward to this moment of getting home, getting the fire built up, warding off the damp and chill. Which I have now done. But here’s the thing. The wind followed me home and it sounds like Halloween out there. I can hear it blowing loud along the river channel, and up high on the ridge tops. I don’t think it knows I’m down here under the trees in a sturdy home. Well, home felt pretty sturdy until a few minutes ago when the coyotes joined the wind. They have an eerie sound at the best of times let alone on a breezy night when I’m home by myself. But I have to laugh. Because really, here I am with full kerosene lanterns, fresh batteries in the head lamp, a roaring fire, dogs at my feet, writing waiting, and a shotgun. What is there to fear from wind and snow and coyotes? Nothing. Which is why I locked the door.

Here’s what I meant to write about though. On the radio this evening a man talked about a rare disorder where a person feels like they have ceased to exist, that the things they see and touch are not real. It’s possible that something in the brain between our thoughts and our perceptions disconnects for these people. I found that so creepy. Which is the real reason I locked the door. One patient thought she was dead. Think about that.

And then think about how, in writing, the story world, the imagination, the dream, become so real.

This past December we went to Wallace Idaho. I wanted to get winter photos of Nine Mile Cemetery for possible cover art for The Memory Keeper sequel. While there, we wanted breakfast, and I suggested a particular café.

And then remembered that the café doesn’t exist outside of the story. Oh, I based it on a similar one that does exist, but in a different location. In those few moments, my reality was actually my story. It was quite disorientating. I had to actually pause to discern which was real.

The light side is when we fall in love with a story and become immersed in that world so deeply that our stresses and disagreements and worries disappear for a short while.

The dark side is when we forget which is real and which imaginary, when the story becomes the truth. I sometimes think that is what has happened to a young man who lives near here and carries on conversations with people who only exist in his mind. Yes, I know the medical diagnosis of his condition, but sometimes I watch him talking to them and have to wonder.

 Who decides what’s real?

 Okay, I’m very glad the door is locked. Wonder if my husband can leave work early…

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