“My dear fellow, life is infinitely stranger than the mind of man could ever invent.”
Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes
As readers, we have to believe the unbelievable. Things made up are supposed to be ‘possible’. Truth is stranger than fiction though. Mighty hard to imagine sometimes. So we make things as they should be, not always what they could be.
Characters especially. Can you guess whether the following characters are authentic or fictionalized?
1. Mongolian who lived eight years in Dallas, Texas, moved to San Fran for Japanese food training. Has a six year old daughter and twenty year old son — born both on November 15. He was laid off and took a taxi position, now living in outskirts of San Fran in a one bedroom apartment.
2. A kind, but soft spoken, church worship leader. He bakes and decorates his kids’ birthday cakes and his full time profession is in house renovations.
3. A giant of a man, big burly fellow, attending a writing group meeting introduces himself as Joe. He wanders North America as he works all day, any day, transporting groceries on a rig. He smells of smoke. And liquor. He wants to share a few pieces. He’s come here in hopes of sharing his writing. His writing: poetry.
4. A young hairstylist who has travelled to Mexico a couple times, living with her boyfriend and her friend and her boyfriend. She has always lived in the same town, but absorbing and discussing deep thoughts. Her grandparents lived in a Japanese internment camp. She aspires to travel to New York City.
5. Community chess club participants discussing French language knowledge, and their trips abroad to Turkey and Belgium. After the meeting they finish the day old doughnuts sitting on the counter and wash up their mismatched coffee cups. Some of them are retired. Some of them on disability insurance. Some will walk the streets till they find a shelter for night.
Have you read these characters in any major pieces of literature?
Do they sound familiar?
Well, if they are…these characters are mimicking reality. Because every single one of these people are real.
People are complex. Truth is stranger than fiction.