Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between what is real and fiction in the stories I tell. Now, you hope that if I’m telling a story about my past, it’s real … but who knows, my mind has probably exaggerated some parts of the story for so long, I believe the whole story.
A friend who reads my raw, unedited, messy chapters as I write, asked the other day if a specific incident was real or pure fiction. While it hadn’t happened to me, the story was true – it happened to someone else I know.
Now before you start trying to discern which stories are mine and which are not … just assume they’re all fiction. It’s easier on me. Because if all of these things happened to me or to my friends, we’d be a mess.
For starters, the purple underwear incident on the steps of Sycamore House is pure fiction. And trust me, all of the dead bodies that Polly finds are figments of my imagination (or are they? 🙂 ).
You know that used / new bookstore that Rebecca and Andrew like to visit in the books? It’s a real place and owned by one of my high school friends.
Now I know that we live in a small world and when you all come from the same state, the world gets even smaller, but imagine my surprise several years ago when I discovered one of my close high school friends owned a bookshop not 25 minutes from where I was hanging out.
We’d graduated from high school in Sigourney – down in southeast Iowa. After college, she moved to Louisiana and I ended up in Omaha. We lost touch for years and years. Then … I discovered she had returned to Iowa and ended up in Boone – owning a bookstore for heaven’s sake.
That little piece of reality had to show up in my writing.
When I was in yesterday, I dropped off a few books and as I waited while she worked with a customer, I watched two young kids wandering the store, picking out books to purchase. They each had a handful of cash and were excited as they selected their titles. While they were a sister and brother and a little younger than Andrew and Rebecca, it didn’t take much for me to imagine Polly watching as those two kids made their choices and proudly bought their books.
Susan at “The Book Shoppe” (on Story Street, by the way, in Boone) loves to greet new customers. If you’re ever driving around central Iowa … stop in, say hello, and tell her you know me. Here’s hoping she doesn’t share any embarrassing memories.
When fiction meets reality …