Here’s an excerpt from a book that will be completed before the first Astronauts land on Mars, I swear. It’s from an alternate world fantasy novel, so sorry. The example is fictional, but you know it.
The children on the Disney channel wear colonial clothing and colonial wigs. George Washington is black, John Hancock is white, John Adams, Hispanic, Ben Franklin, half-Dutch, half-Iroquois, and Jefferson and Hamilton are both girls. Hamilton is an Asian girl.
This is a world that never was. Even the child actors know that. Most of the viewers do too. But we wish it were true. I’m so very angry that it isn’t.
Lewis said that the purpose of prayer is not to change the world. The purpose of prayer is to the one praying.
The same is true of stories.
People look to stories for truth. This is proof that people are insane. If you want to know the truth, look at a graph. They suck, but they’re better. If occasionally a story tells you truth, it’s by accident. Stories aim to make you feel. That’s it. That’s all. The beginning and the end. The alpha and the omega. When we feel, we are changed. That’s what stories do.
That’s all a lot of milksop. When I pray to the God I no longer believe in, “Please, do not let my mother die of dementia,” it’s not me I want to be changed. It’s the chemical composition of my mother’s brain. Stories are prayers, so we hope not to change just ourselves, or our readers, but the nature of reality. A request put in to God. Knowing the truth not by discovering it, but by deciding it.
This is all a lot of nonsense. Reality doesn’t work that way. That’s why I’m devoting my life to the mumbling of useless prayers. In hopes of making reality work that way.
But those children on the Disney channel do me one better. They tell these lies about the past because in the hope that they’re really prophecies. Put on a pageant, a prayer sent up, not to God or the gods, but to our descendants.
In some cultures, they practice ancestor ancestor worship. In America, we’ve learned better.
This fantasy novel has totes action and magic and narrative stuff, I swear, honest, scout’s honor.