“If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution.” – Jasper Fforde
In many ways the real world is a book. At least the version of the real world which we hold together in our minds with invisible threads which resemble the calligraphy flourishes we use to join letters in cursive writing, if invisible threads could be seen… you’re seeing them now, aren’t you.
Everything is real and nothing is real. It’s been stated countless times, and I’m sure each person who said it had their mind blown a few seconds before by the realisation that they could not prove beyond a shadow of doubt that anything was actually real, because they could not find strong enough evidence that they were real, and other people confirming their existence did not count as evidence as who could prove that the confirmer who was confirming was real… I sense an impending headache, but is it in my head or yours?
“So you’re going to have to ask yourselves one simple question: Which one of us is speaking now?” – Jasper Fforde
Are these words really here? If this was a page in a physical book which was held in your hands and you could feel the texture of the page against your skin, smell the delicate scent of paper, see the dark ink absorbed by the light skin upon which it has been tattooed, and hear the rustle of the air between pages as your turned them… then maybe you could be certain that these words are really here.
Or at least that your vivid imagination was at work creating a multi-dimensional reality.
However in this place of cyber ink, pages, and traveling the world with a click of an insubstantial button using a floating arrow, all brought to life by gobbledygook only understood by brains made up of labyrinthian code… everything is an illusion devised to seem real, a collective hallucination.
So, these words are here but not here.
“I shouldn’t believe anything I say, if I were you – and that includes what I just told you.” – Jasper Fforde
I only believe what I see, is often said by realists. They feel rather smug when they say it. They have their feet firmly planted on the ground with roots growing out of the soul of their soles into the earth, plunging deep into the depths beneath, all the way to the molten inner core… no, wait, it’s not a molten core at all, it’s a hard metal ball spinning so quickly that it appears to be liquid… no, wrong again, it’s a frenzied giant hamster who ate too many cashews and is high on fart fumes running as fast as it can to catch up to itself.
What? I didn’t give the hamster cashews, I would never do something so ridiculous! Cashews are delicious, I would eat them myself.
“For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.” – Jasper Fforde
So how can we believe what we see on the internet when the internet itself is imaginary. Because the people using the internet are real? Are they? I’m not just referring to con artists and other criminals seeking to lure us in with their promises of untold wealth, health, and success, but also those who use amusing aliases as names and pics of animals wearing sunglasses as avatars, and those who have so many different identities with different faces for each one, who no longer know which one is their real self and most of us suspect, when we become aware of their multiplicity, that none of them are real and neither is the person who created them. They are reverse hoarders, rather than fill their house with clutter, they clutter the world around their empty house.
We all feel empty at times, and we fill our house with beautiful works of art to inspire us and take us on journeys into our minds and out into the alternate universe of our imagination.
“After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer – perhaps more.” – Jasper Fforde
There is an idea floating around on the internet, it has been there for a while, a brightly hued helium balloon which slipped out of the hand of an inner child and drifted up and away for eyes that may be looking up to glimpse, wonder, and invent stories about it, where it came from and where it is going.
– Someone should write a book where the main character in the story gradually falls in love with the reader. –
I bet the person who thought that up was very pleased with themselves, which is a most satisfying feeling. Yet, it is sad… for the characters, not always the main ones, in all the books I’ve read inevitably fall in love with me. Can one blame them for such an indulgence, after all their lives depend upon me, and it is difficult to resist loving the person who saves you from the death of forgetfulness. The writer may have abandoned them, perhaps due to that mortality weakness from which we all suffer, but readers never die, and thus as long as readers exist so do the characters in the stories we read, and they love us for breathing life into them.
Although sometimes they find some of the other things we do them a bit rude, insulting, and questionable.
“She wasn’t the only one to be physically morphed by reader expectation. Miss Havisham was now elderly whether she liked it or not, and Sherlock Holmes wore a deerstalker and smoked a ridiculously large pipe. The problem wasn’t just confined to the classics. Harry Potter was seriously pissed off that he’d have to spend the rest of life looking like Daniel Radcliffe.” – Jasper Fforde
They can be a little unreasonable, even when their writers left clear instructions to age them, and perhaps clothe them in rags. When their writers did not leave clear instructions in their descriptions, we fill in the blanks, ad lib. Then there are those occasions where the writer’s view is just not the reader’s, so we change a few details, make things better for us. It’s give and take – you, dear character, will wear a pink tutu to fight the dragon, and I will keep you alive, maybe even follow you to the sequel.
Ah, if only it we could do such things with the real world… breathe life into others, wear inappropriate attire for situations that have a strict dress code, say what we please because it pleases us, redecorate a room without moving a muscle, move a window, put a bubble over our house, plant a garden with a thought, change the weather to suit our mood, and fly on a magic carpet to a kingdom in the clouds…
“If only life were that simple; if one could jump to the good parts and flick through the bad.” – Jasper Fforde
Fast forward through the boring bits and relive the fun and exciting part over and over again…
Perhaps we can, sometimes we do, but our imaginations falter when faced with reality and lose their power of creation. We imagine we can’t and so we create a reality where we can’t.
“Yes, and imagine a world where there were no hypothetical situations.” – Jasper Fforde