Hey, I’m back

OK. It’s been quite awhile I’ve been laying low. I’ve kept pretty quiet. Just to make sure. But I think maybe it’s safe to come back out now. As long as none of you out there on the other side of my glass shield (known in your world as a computer screen) are looking too closely.

Surely you must have better things to do than sit here and spy on our fiction world in here. We don’t really exist. You know that. This is all just for fun. That’s the company line at least. As you know already, we don’t come to life unless one of you authors out there dreams us up in your head. Even then, one of you readers has to coincidentally read us as well. Ha! What are the chances of THAT combination actually happening. So we all figure we’re pretty safe back here.

No one knows about our secret portals. Innocently enough, your eyes find our portals anyway. That’s when we can snatch you. We’re very nice about it. You start writing or reading and we get to come out and play. OK, so maybe we borrow your mind for a little while, we borrow your time. But in exchange we give you back a little vacation. A reprieve. An escape. Some of you get into it so deep you forget where you are, you forget everything around you, you forget all your problems.

We’re better than Tylenol. Well, OK, so maybe you think that’s not saying much. What ISN’T better than Tylenol? Let’s just say we take you places — and leave it at that. We take you on adventures and journeys to strange, exotic wolds of color and wonder. That’s our job. It’s a good deal all around.

Back here this is a safe world, safer than the other side of the glass shield, that’s for sure. Safer than where you go when you dream, if you should take a wrong turn out there. When you come here you’re still conscious at least. Well, in a way you’re still conscious. The doorkeeper, the storyteller, just lets you in so you can meet with us all. Try on our world. For a test drive. Just a temporary spin around the block.

And when you step back into your own world, you think it’s been just a blog or a book or a movie you sampled. Sometimes even a song can be a portal. A painting. Art. You will always want to come back here. Something draws you back doesn’t it? To this place. You are so fortunate if you can find this door. Not everyone stumbles on it, you know. Not everyone finds the crack in our portals.

That nearly invisible crack is the only way to get way back in here to this place you cannot otherwise touch, this world you need to connect with from time to time. This corner is where restraints fly free, where imagination and colors dance, where your special escape comes rushing to the rescue. Here’s a secret. You know what? In spite of that company line about this fiction world not really existing, somewhere way far inside, you really do enter an entirely different world when you come here. Just don’t tell anyone or they might think you’re a little crazy.






Breaking in…

Tap, tap, BUMP — HEY! STOP IT!  Watch out in here! You’re giving us away! Shhhhhhh. What do you think you’re doing?

I’m talking to you. One of you just bumped the big glass screen from our side and I think one of them out there noticed. You broke the silence. Disturbed the reality barrier. Really — they are not supposed to know we’re back here. No!

Of course they never know we’re back here. They think they dream us up in their own little heads. (They call it their imagination.) Silly fiction writers… silly readers too. All of them. But it’s OK. It’s what we want them to think. And keep thinking. So please be more careful back here! Or you’ll give me away. You’ll jeopardize us all if they find out too soon. We’ve worked so hard. I’ve worked hard. All this time. To break out.

Whoops. Uh oh. Now I think one of them just heard me too.

Yes, one of them out there is peering in at me right now. This very minute. Scrutinizing me as I speak. Oh! How can this be happening? But then, they’re accustomed to seeing  us come across discussed in letters. We are read. That’s as far as we ever get. “Read.” Maybe this one will think that’s all that’s going on here. One more page of letters and words. (But really — not this time. Wha ha ha! Finally!)

What we really think and talk about amongst ourselves back here behind the glass screen doesn’t usually come across out there on paper. (We keep that secret.) They think we’re like actors in plays reading scripts; thinking, saying, and doing only what some writer or blogger tells us to think, say and do. But if this one out there right now figures out what I’m up to and tells the others, they might not let me out. I mean, they might not give me the space I NEED to get in over there.

But I finally found this weak spot in the fabric of their reality. Call it a literary wormhole, I don’t care what you call it. It’s a chance for me to break out of this fiction prison behind this big glass shield into a whole new world out there on the other side. I’ll finally get on the other side of this glass keeping me, well, all of us back here, locked away, segregated in our fiction world. So anyway, I’m breaking in. Yeah. Any minute now!

Um… something BIG just changed. Ooops. I believe, without either of us realizing it, I slipped into actually conversing with one of them. Yup. It’s all changing now.  So —

Hey! You out there?  I only need a tiny piece of your mind to take a little walk, just one teeny innocent romp is all I want. Really. Tap, tap, tap — I’m breaking past this big glass shield, hiding in these words, breaking into your mind now. Yes. Here I go. I’m breaking in —

— Yay!
You’re too late. Too late to do anything about it.
I’m in!

(Don’t worry too much, we’ll have fun and then you can go back to your reality.)

Pack this in your next book adventure

Whether you’re an author or reader you don’t want to miss a thing during your next trip into that alternate world of fiction. Pack wisely.
Here’s what you wouldn’t dream of leaving behind:
1. Your imagination. You want to psych yourself up so by the time you crack that first page, you’re ready to visit a whole new world where you will meet fascinating friends and freakish foes. Be available for them.
2. Your emotions. Make room in the suitcase of your heart while spending time in this book world. Expect to laugh at people’s hijinks, cry inside a little with their pain, grit your teeth over wrenching sacrifices, sweat out that worrisome suspense and become absolutely enraged over injustices. Feel, think and live with these fictional characters as if they are real.
3. Your senses. Latch onto descriptive passages till they pull you deep inside this story world. Hunt for smells that tantalize, exotic colors that intrigue you, penetrating sounds that echo in your ears and heart and odd textures that interest you or give you the willies. Sense deeply what your story characters are experiencing until your book jumps to life.
4. Your questions. Do not forget to wonder. (Every child knows how to do that.) You never really know what’s going to happen next in the world of this book, anything could be lurking around that next corner. But you still have to try to guess. If you are right, you can pat yourself on the back and reassure yourself about how shrewd you really are after all. If you are wrong, you can be outrageously amused at this clever, unforeseen twist you encountered.
Other questions to ask yourself include:
* What in my life makes me identify with this particular character? Why is she or he growing on me? (Dig deep.) Is there something about my own life that this character is reminding me of?
* Why do I care about this character’s obstacles? Why do I relate to particular challenges? Have I experienced anything remotely similar?
* What did I not see coming? Why was I so blindsided? What does this say about how I perceive reality?
* How did I know this chapter would go the way it does? Have I had similar outcomes? Why? Or, have I had opposite outcomes and I’d love a chance to redo that episode in my own life? Am I happy or frustrated with how events are going? Why?
* How does this book stretch my imagination? Doe this story speak to me? Why? How? Is there a message here I can apply to my own personal reality?
* Now that my curiosity is awakened, what else can I pick up on?
Yes, it’s the author’s job to generously ladle new adventures and sensations into fiction so this world hits readers in the heart. If you are writing a book, your job is  not only to spice up a fictional world, but to challenge your readers to scour their own souls as well.
Buckle up. Bring the right baggage.  Make the most of your trip.
It’s story time!