This is one of my favorite times of the year. The celebration of Christmas. I love the fact we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I love the Christmas trees and lights. I love the idea of a white Christmas (although in MS it rarely snows on Christmas). I love the music that get stuck in my head up until at least February, so it’s no surprise I love the Christmas movies that come on Hallmark and ABC Family and even Lifetime.
But, life isn’t ANYTHING like the Christmas movies. I’ve yet to find Mr. Perfect by searching for the hottest guy to be the “new” Santa. I have yet to live in a Snow Globe, and I haven’t been a Scrooge my whole life and suddenly become aware of the true meaning of Christmas. Nor have I met the “REAL” Santa and thrown him in jail for “assaulting” someone or had an accident and met my guardian angel who showed me what life would be like without me. And I don’t have a crazy cousin Eddie (although Christmas Vacation is probably the Christmas movie that comes closest to depicting my real life. 😉 )
I swear I have a point. Bear with me, please.
Yet, year after year, I watch these movies over and over again on repeat. Why? Because it’s an escape from my mundane life.
Okay. That’s with EVERY movie and TV show I watch and every book I read, but I got to thinking about the Christmas movies I complain about. “Real life is NOTHING like that.” I say that continuously.
Why do I complain? I know it’s fiction. I’m fully aware of that when I turn the channel to one of those Christmas movies I love. I don’t know my reasoning, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that I LOVE them!
So, here’s the point! Good fiction may drive you crazy because it’s not “realistic” enough, but it will keep you coming back for more. There. I said it.
So what if it’s not “realistic” enough? It’s fiction. It’s not supposed to be real life. (I have to remind myself of this every time I watch a Lifetime movie or an ABC Family movie.)
Fiction is supposed to take the mundane and make it more exciting. We don’t want to read a story or watch a movie that is like our lives. If that was the case, no one would ever read or watch movies. Then the job of a writer would be over (and we don’t want that!). There would be no need for us.
I realize that the stories we write have to be realistic to some degree. We don’t want a character who doesn’t seem real to us. We need to take these characters and make them real people. We also have to make sure that the world we put our characters in seems real, and yet at the same time, we have to make it almost unrealistic in nature because we don’t want people to be bored. (If you’re a reader, you see why writers are driven to drink? 😉 We have to bring reality and fiction together to make it believable which seems like quite a contradiction in terms if you ask me.)
Real life is nothing like a Hallmark movie, but who really wants to re-live reality? If you ask me, the best part about being a reader is that I get to live life through another person. My goal as a writer has always been to help people escape their lives for a little while. Hence the title Dreaming Awake that I’ve become so fond of.
So, the next time I start complaining about movies being so “unrealistic,” I’m going to remind myself that I’m crazy because who wants to watch “reality.” (If you can’t tell, I rarely watch “reality TV” except for Sister Wives which I’m addicted to.)
What do you think about reality and fiction mingling?