Story Thought #2: PERVERSIONS OF STORY

Storytelling has been a life-journey. On this page I will share things I've picked up along the way, as well as new thoughts that present themselves as the journey continues. Some will be about drawing and visuals, some will be about writing and story with a capital S. Let's do this!

PERVERSIONS OF STORY

The way I understand it, non-fiction is telling the most specific truths in the most factual way possible, while fiction—AKA story— is about telling the most universal truths in the weirdest way possible. In other words, while non-fiction is about small truths and (as much as humanly possible) no lies, story is about small lies and big truths.

for instance, the small lie that getting bit by a radioactive spider gives you the ability to climb walls puts you in the mood to accept the universal truth that with great powers, come great responsibility. By the way, that IS a big truth, to which anyone who has ever ascended to the great powers of middle management only to find themselves responsible for hiring or firing their friends can attest. Also, for you story snobs out there, originality is totally uncorrelated to truth.

In short, the small lies of story amuse and entertain so we can relax and process the other stuff.

I have vivid childhood memories of Superman The Movie coming out, and being baffled by news segments about concerned parents who feared that it would cause their kids to put on makeshift capes and jump out the window. I was just a kid, and I was like—are you people insane? Do you think we kids believe this is real? Do you not understand the difference between child play and psychotic delusions? Wait—are you confused? Do you believe this is real?

That type of confusion never goes away, as illustrated by parents wanting to ban Harry Potter because they don’t want to ‘promote witchcraft’… making you wonder… wait… you actually believe witches are real? Anyone in particular we need to burn?

Which leads me to perversions of story. The state in which one gets so turned around that stories’ small lies are taken literally, while the big truths are being missed.

That happens when one insist that someone actually walked on water, but completely misses the point of the story: that even God had to come down from his place of judgement, and walk a painful mile in man’s shoes to access the commonality of the human experience, and teach himself empathy. That kind of confusion between what to defend as fact versus what to really connect with is how a family-values person might end up rooting for putting migrant children in cages.

Or when one starts real-life believing plots out of X-files, while failing to grasp the dark societal projects underpinning those beliefs (such as your political opponents needing to be put in jail.)

It’s interesting to consider that perverted fiction and inaccurate non-fiction are two completely different things. Perverted story is not about incorrect facts that can be be disproven, it’s about taking a healthy play mechanism, and turning it on its head into psychosis.

And just like you can’t argue facts with a crazy person, the greatest antidote of perverted story is not facts, it actually is story. Good old story about how we all are the same…all trying to find our way in life, putting on pants one leg at a time, and trying to get through our day—all that delivered through talltales of, say, saving the city from Godzilla. So if you wonder why forces of darkness have been putting so much effort in attacking universally beloved stories such as Star Wars, comic books in general, or instigate things like gamer gate, look no further. It’s an attack on story. It’s an attack on us coming together around the playful exploration of our shared humanity. because when you start arguing over the real ethnicity of fictional characters, you know you have forgotten what every child knows. You no longer know how to play.

Personally, nothing makes me happier than the fact that my readers come from all walks of life, and from all cultural, and I’m sure, political stripes. And I love those thousands of moments, at conventions or online, when we all come together to share our connection with these fictional characters, and the very human themes that live inside them. We get to play together. And the more we do of that, the more the neurotic anxious making other stuff just goes away.

So let’s make sure we collectively keep playing together, and never confuse what to do with the small lies and the big truth, before we, as a society, find ourselves putting on a cape and jumping out the fucking window.