Well now, I know I've been slacking in the review department lately, but it's common for me to have a rant about one book or another, or even about a TV series, or... just anything, really, about monthly. So, I've decided to start up a new thing on Book Worm. It's the Confessions of a Book Worm rant, in which I talk fictional characters and all other cool stuff.
I once saw this beautiful picture of all the most famous and loved contemporary books, and it said “I laughed with you, I believed in you, I followed you, I cried with you, I fought for you, I grew up with you, I was you, and all along you were never really there”. And while I started out reading this with a smile, the last sentence nearly made me cry.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. To quote Tessa Gray in Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince, “If no one knows you, do you even truly exist?”. And I wonder. Because I have friends. So, so many friends. But 90% of them live in my head. 30% of those 90%, I invented myself. The other 60%, other authors have given me. And they know me. They know me better than I know myself. And I did laugh, believe, follow, cry, fight and grow up with them. I was them, each and every one of them, for a short period of time.
But saying that they were never really there? Well, that’s akin to saying most of my life has been a lie.
What brought on the thinking I mentioned earlier was yet another quote. This one stated “Legitimately being unable to identify if a memory if yours or from a book character”. Now, at first glance, that sounds stupid. I mean, who could possibly confuse their own life with that of a fictional character, right?
The thing about books is just that: the really good ones are the ones that mess with your emotions, your thoughts and beliefs. And if they mess with those things, well, eventually, after countless of good books doing that to you, the emotions start to blur together. You remember what brought them on, and you remember the feeling - but that’s the thing. You never truly experienced what the character did, so those emotions can’t be yours, because you’ve never been through that. But you felt it.
So as the feelings blur, when something triggers a memory of that emotion, you feel it as strongly as if whatever happened to the character happened to you. So, yes, to an extent, you are the character. You experienced a little of life with them, and now, that part of them will always be within you. But how do you tell the difference, after thirteen years of “false” emotions piling up, how can you possibly tell the difference between an emotion or experience lived by you in the physical world from an emotion or experience lived by you as a character in a fictional world?
It is not possible.
Does that mean I’m going mad? Maybe.
Maybe not. But, as Lewis Carroll has said, “You know what? The best people are”.
So to those people who try to tell me that my friends aren’t real; that they aren’t there just because they’re fictional, well then, Dumbledore has something to say to you: “Of course it’s happening in your head... But why would that mean that it’s not real?”. And you’ll never convince me differently.