By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
“My brother is in prison, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and I will have you killed.” These words caught my attention. My friend shared with me these threats he had received from lady that was disappointed with his service. He said she had told him earlier of a recent motorcycle accident where the person she was riding with had been killed. She was injured and had been in the hospital. On her second account of the same accident she gave the location as having happened in the opposite end of the State. My friend found later that her stay had been in a hospital but not due to any physical ailments. The reality she was living was total fantasy.
As my friend continued to tell me more about the lady I couldn’t help to think it sounded like a Stephen King novel. It seemed reality and fantasy was interchangeable in her life. One day she may be clear and precise and the next making no sense at all. The same can be said as she speaks to different people. Her fantasy or reality was also determined by the location of the person she is speaking to. A person standing in front of her seemed to warrant reality where as a phone conversation receives fantasy. There may be a psychological explanation and term for this but I am not of that field. The interest I have is from the point of view as a writer and using this information as a tool to tell a story.
If we could write in a similar way this lady seems to think it could make for one great story. Or if we could bounce back and forth from reality to fantasy in a creative way again it could make for a great story. But if we could create this fantasy to reality and back again as a pattern with our writing we could possibly have a great writing career ahead of us.
Imagine a character living reality but driven by fantasy. That isn’t reaching at all. Many characters we see are doing just that. The beauty of it all is when their fantasy driven life leads to an amazing outcome in the reality portion of their lives.
You know these people. You should write about them. To help identify them, in the South we deal with them in the sweetest of ways. We look lovingly at them and simply say, “Bless your heart”.