We live in a world where certain elements of truth are not allowed to exist. They live instead behind the pages of books and underneath the skin of imagination. Writing fiction is fun to me because we have the opportunity to play with these elements, mixing and matching reality and day dreams until anything becomes possible within the reach of imagination. There is no right and wrong answer. No specific way of doing things, anything and everything is indeed possible. So much so that some of what we read can be described as strange. Completely made up monsters pop in from outer space, people fly and houses speak to us. But truth is stranger than fiction and stretches beyond imagination. That is, nothing we can make up compares to the unusual reality of the kinds of things that actually take place in the real world. You think you’re watching a movie written by a writer who stuttered embellishments in the darkness of his bedroom, fingers tapping against the keyboard while memory plays hide and seek with his thoughts. But what if his characters really do exist? What if armies of giants live underground with thousand eye locusts like horses ready for battle? You think Shrek was the genius of a profound imagination until you realize there were talking Donkey’s in the history of man. You think The Matrix is just a movie until you begin to understand a parallel universe. “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” isn’t just a fancy tag line put together by a writer of fiction; not something I dug up between the inspirations of Mark Twain. What it seeks to communicate is the notion that nothing we can create can be as unusual as what we are bound to find in real life, and speaks metaphorically of the unsettling realness of truth. The “strangeness” of reality. You think something is weird until you find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Perhaps maybe your characters are not just stick men, but what if they actually do exist?
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of eight books, most notably, The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.
This isn’t exactly an article FYI, more like a random thought (perhaps I’ll make a category for that). But, in case you haven’t noticed, I use a lot of Frank Morrison images on this blog. In fact, my avatar profile is a FM piece. I have a brother who’s a very talented artist (one day I’ll feature some of his work), but I’ve never really been into the specifics of artwork such as paintings, drawings, etc. on an intimate level. Sure, I love pictures and paintings but I’m not one to visit an art gallery (unless of course admission is free ha ha…wait, do you pay to get in or you just pay for the paintings? I have no idea, but moving on…). In the past couple years I’ve come to really enjoy FM’s work. The exaggeration of the features is amazing and I think it is one of his most obvious talents; but also the authenticity of the pictures, their realness, and their truth. The facial expressions of the African American women, the cool movements of the men, the innocence of the children, the whole culture and style of the people in general is eye catching. While I don’t agree with all of the spiritualism some of the paintings suggest, there are still enough of them to love; each picture standing alone to become a story of its own. I can so see myself writing a short story based on one of the paintings themselves. And interestingly, many of them are so perfect for what I write on this blog, especially the poetry. But it’s not much of a surprise since, in many ways, these paintings are indeed poetic and add great compliment to any work. Speaking of which, I think it’s important for writers, bloggers, and those who like to write in general, to take advantage of images alongside words every now and again because they tend to not only catch the viewer’s eye, but speak much more forcibly to the reader, causing him to actually keen in more closely to the actual text. Not that text alone can’t speak (for I am a writer and my work is not pictorial in the literal sense), but I believe mankind is a visual creation. It makes faith a great challenge since it’s the proof of what is not seen lol, but I think we can strengthen that part just by learning how to properly use images alongside text. Pictures should not dominate so that they distract away from the reading, but they should compliment the reading.
While it probably makes for a great debate on which is more beneficial for the sharing of information (visual or written), I think none of us can deny that pictures can display quite the impression, and potentially lead to the further evaluation of the written text. Just browse through any Library or Bookstore and you’ll see that books ARE judged by their covers! It’s the cover that first grabs your attention. Of course we all want for a good story, but even before you get to the synopsis of the text it’s the image on the cover that pulls you into the title and makes you read what the book is about.
So great job Morrison! Because of you I may just invest a few sheckles into an art gallery, who knows. 🙂