Entry: Fiction Saturday, August 27, 2005



Itís interesting to note that one of the properties of fiction, my old Interested Party, is its desirability. Here we have this enterprise that is, in its essential presentation, a lie Ė and what do we humans do with it? In some of the more obvious forms of fiction, we do things like buy tickets and popcorn and then sit perfectly still for two hours so we can devote our strict attention to it. In cases like, oh, say money, we spend a great deal more sweat and effort. And as for used bookstoresÖ Yours Truly will wander lost in awe, briefly abandoning his offspring in front of the bullshit Koontz hardbacks, in pursuit of short-story collections sporting Wodehouse, Woody Allen, Dahl, Steinbeck, and James Joyce all in one cover.

Damnit, quit side-tracking me. What Iím getting around to is the appeal of fiction, you know? Why it is that one moment, weíre perfectly content to have never read a mystery novel all the way through Ė and then, when faced with a giant copy of the Complete Annotated Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume One, we suddenly know we must own it. We know it like we know the coffee maker will work tomorrow morning. We know it like we know thereíll be a tomorrow morning in which to coax the coffee maker into working in the first place.

At least, my Interested Party, like I knew it.

And I knew it while my offspring sat, no doubt perplexed by a surprisingly large string of horror novels that arenít nearly as good some people think.

The same could, no doubt, be said of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle too, you understand.

Because, we pick our fictions, you know? We pick which lies reflect a ring of truth. We vote or we work or we read or we watch whichever breed of CSI happens to be on at the moment.

Damnation. I didnít really intend to get this deep. I mean, really Ė Iím only two beers along tonight.

I think Iíll just sit down and read a short story by Steinbeck, whose talent seems to be in telling stories I donít give a ratís ass about in such a way that I donít want to turn away from them.



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