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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Paradox

Photo: en.wikipedia.org
The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense. -Tom Clancy

What Mr. Clancy said is great thing to keep in mind, especially when you're writing fiction. But human beings really seem to be the most comfortable when their reality makes sense too.

Sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to solve puzzles that apparently have no solution. I don't mean the physical kind like the little wooden balls and cubes that come apart or the Rubik's cube (which also comes apart with a little determination;-). I had a handle on those a long time ago. And really, if you solve them or don't, what difference does it ultimately make? The puzzles that intrigue me the most are the ones I can't seem to sort out no matter how hard I try.

One of those apparently unsolvable puzzles is the basic premise of the things I write about: The paranormal. As I'm beginning to do the research for my next book, it's easy to understand where legends begin and how they persist. There is really no mystery there. What I DO find mildly baffling though, is the consistency of information from widespread and seemingly unrelated sources. I might even be able to explain that much without straining myself; stories pass from one generation to the next, but people don't stay on one place. That's the simple answer, and most likely the right one. But the stories are just so darned consistent.

Let's make something clear; I don't believe in the paranormal because I want to. I have a very uneasy relationship with the paranormal world. I was just an average, relatively normal person, minding my own business and living my life the best I knew how when this happened. It's easy to read books like mine, to hear stories and to dismiss them outright as total BS. I know because I've done it. I've nodded politely, made the right noises (something along the lines of "Oh, how interesting...") but secretly thought to myself that it was a monumental crock of sh**. But I wrote this book, I was there and I know it's not a crock.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."  

Okay, that's all well and good, but what do you do if your mind is blown? What if you have seen with your own eyes, things you can't possibly explain? And things that have never been adequately explained by anyone? Well, I know what I'm doing: I'm throwing myself into it in the hopes of finding some answers while carving out what I hope is an entertaining niche for others. It's fun, and let's face it; it helps me to embrace the illusion that I have some kind of hold on this stuff and therefore some manner of control over it. Now that is a crock. But it helps me to sleep at night.

But here's a hell of a question to throw out there: HOW can this stuff be explained? Oh, I've seen all the 'investigative' shows and heard about all the spiritual aspects, but what is the real, tangible explanation? Is it possible, given all we know about the world in general, to find real answers? As much fun as it is to tell stories and speculate, and as much as I hope my scary book is a success, my sleep would be much improved if I knew that real answers were on the horizon.

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