Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Moments that Matter (IRL vs. Fiction)

How often do you have meaningful conversations? Or do your exchanges sound more like this:

Friend: "Hey, how was your weekend?"
Me: "Good. The weather was beautiful."
Friend: "Yeah, nice to have some sun finally. We barbequed some dogs and hung out. Fireworks were great."
Me: "Yeah, traffic was lousy coming home, though."
Friend: "I know, that one intersection gets really gummed up."

Blah, blah, blah.

You'd never see an exchange like this in a book (and if you did, I'm sure you'd be skimming over it). Dialogue--and in fact, every scene--is supposed to move the book forward. Yet, real life is filled with epidsodes of banality, days on end that look just like the ones before, punctuated with moments that matter.

How often do we talk about what's really happening inside--our fears, our dreams, our secret shame--rather than just talking about the monotony of filling hours each day?

Books allow us--no, require us--to make every moment count. A word does not belong on the page if it doesn't contribute to the story. That's why books are such an escape from the tedium of life. Whether they are exciting, scary, tear-jerking or romantic, they are MORE. They are filled with moments that matter for the characters and maybe help fill the void inside us caused by the duldrums of everydayness.


  1. As someone very much stuck in the doldrums of everydayness and desperately escaping into both reading and writing, I loved this post. It makes me want to have a real conversation with someone with all the filler taken out. Thanks, Cyndi.

  2. Well said, Cyndi :) Writing stories does give us the opportunity to really express the important things in life. I put my heart and sole into mine and said so much I couldn't say in real life.

    Great post :)

  3. Sophia- Your comment made me smile this morning (and made me realize I misspelled doldrums- LOL). Let's make a pact to have a real conversation this week. *shakes hand*

    Kurt (from England)- Let me just express what a joy it is to call you my friend!


  4. Good post. In real life (and in fiction!), I despise chitchat. It's necessary to some extent, I suppose, but it just feels so pointless. At the same time, if all our conversations were soul-bearers, talking to people would become exhausting very quickly. The expression allowed us in art is valuable for bridging the gap between what we're able to express in real life and what we *wish* we could.

  5. K.M.- You're so right. I don't think anyone has the time or mental fortitude to go around having deep conversations all the time. I love that we can express through fiction the things that we find hard to say out loud. :)