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A little iconoclasm; I’ll clean it up later.
There’s this common misconception that fiction writers traffick in lies. For a long time, I conspired with the misguided notion, saying that I was "a professional liar." I’ve told my share of lies, and I’ve promoted a lot of illusions, but I never turned pro. Meanwhile, in my fiction-writing, I always labored toward some kind of genuine understanding, some kind of purchase and grasp on the truth. I’ll admit that good fiction writers make the plausible seem absolutely real, and they perfect the art of authenticating their imaginations in extremely ralistic details. Still, fiction isn’t lies; the term "fiction" itself derives from the words for making. We make a world and we set it in motion and we work with all our might to make it True—whetyher or not these people lived and whether or not these places ever existed and these events ever happened, nevertheless we go after the Truth… The truth of the human consition, the reality of human feelings. We assemble the words the best we can, hoping that what we reveal will touch and disturb our readers, blast them out of their compacence, activate their consciences, and move them to significant action… Conscientious action. Not just reflection. Not just book talk at Starbucks. Not just a few more talk-show appearances. Real action. Start a 547; better yet, start a 501c3 and share the wealth. Make something good happen.
Of course, we feel terrible for the tsunami survibors; the apocalypse visited their world. The survivors’ world was ravaged in the most vivid possible way—on a gorgeous holiday with the whole world watching in horror; but what about the little tsunami survivor down the street? The kid whose dad comes homes drunk and washes his bile and vomit over the kid’s seawalls every night? Day by day, that little kid looks and acts so normal; last month, he was citizen of the month at his school; how could he be hurting? That’s where the real lies live—in those pretenses and illusions of "normal." Look to the overachievers; dig behind their certificates and find the holes they’ve punched in their walls. C’mon, boys and girls, don’t we all know that "normal" is the greatest illusion of all? Don’t we all understand the great irony at the heart of "Desperate Housewives"? We feel free to laugh at the fiction, pretending it’s illusion or exaggeration. We could just as easily cry. It’s not a parody or a satire; it’s as real as anything you’ll ever see anywhere, and we watch it because we recognize it.
I kinda like the word "iconoclasm"; it almost captures the image of some demon-crazed geezer like me running all around and smashing the flase idols to smitherenes. Bring your icons and watch me swing the 23 ounce framing hammer—first blow-off the heads and then bring a crushing blow down on their little decerebrate selves. Kabloom. Little fireworks, the icono-shards catching the light before they hit the floor.