The World As We've Learned It

When mystery, suspense, and romance writers talk about the inevitable outcome of their stories (bad guy brought to justice, heroine finds love), they usually invoke the In Real Life Rule: To wit, in real life the bad guy is not always caught or killed and the girl does not always fall in love and live happily ever after. Thus we have these stories so we might feel the satisfaction of justice and the triumph of love. What is so wrong with that? Nothing at all. But what if the Real Life from which we must so often escape isn’t real at all? What if that is nothing but a story? Isn’t it possible that within the whole of life - meaning the sum of every human being and every animal and every tree, flower, and star - there is a balance beyond the comprehension of human knowing? And what if within this balance justice is not always meted in the courts; what if within this balance love is not something can be won or lost?

Such a balance would be too immense a story for any one human to tell or any human to hear. You might glimpse it at the edge of the patient, unsuffering ocean, or watching a stranger risk his life to save another stranger. There is its shadow as you remember all your predictions of doom that never once came to pass. There you might even hear it speak to you in silence, or move in stillness.

But then it is gone. The mind is moving again. How nice to have stories we can understand, with justice we can see, love we can behold. It is easy to lose track of what is all around you constantly. Perhaps the fish disbelieves the myth of the sea. It would be easy to do so. How can you really imagine this endless expanse that supports and sustains you? Even if you leapt for a moment above the surface and glimpsed the horizon and the rocky coast, you would return in an instant to the world as you have learned it, interested as always with what is right in front of you.

9781935961994-Perfect_CS.inddWrite Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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