I had a very profound thought: why should I trust an author or a musician’s political opinion? Why should I trust them at all, I thought. I have opinions on things, a lot of the time I just keep them to myself. It’s a very primal world, the internet. I could post on Facebook about how much I love my Mom’s recipe for chili and I could get backlash from all sides about it. Peta might want to know if the cow for the beef was ethically treated, vegetarians might take issue with how the onions were chopped, and some depraved world leader might have lived on a steady diet of chili and by eating chili, I am advancing their cause. If I can’t clearly communicate my opinion without fear of offending everyone and their mother, should I mirror an author’s opinion?
The answer: absolutely not! Here is a list of reasons why you should never trust anyone who writes fiction for any reason:
- You can’t believe a word we say, we literally make money by making stuff up. If J.K. Rowling can create an entire world of wizardry and magic, what is stopping her from telling you that you look good in that outfit?
- We enjoy and thrive on conflict. We crave it, we create it. Do you know what makes a story worth reading? Conflict. How many of you would have watched the Little Mermaid if the whole story had just been Ariel being perpetually happy collecting garbage and brushing her hair with a fork? …with the way you animals watch vlogs on YouTube, the number would actually be pretty high. Back to the point: writers go out of their way to find friction and conflict. We are drama lords, by definition.
- You can’t confide in us with anything. Picture it: you just went on a date with the perfect hunk of marriage material, after practically closing the deal with smooth conversation and charming personality, you kill the mood with the loudest episode of flatulence to ever make an appearance on the Richter Scale. Who are you going to tell? Someone who financially benefits from such horror stories appearing in print? Absolutely not.
- We’re going to take every pure thought and notion you have and twist it into something unspeakable. Look! That cloud looks like a happy little dinosaur! Why, yes it does. He’s happy because the hunt is almost over; the quest for sustenance is almost at an end. The name of the mammalian creature is not important, not when sharp teeth are about to sink into soft flesh and the trickle of warm blood is about to satiate a natural thirst. Happiness comes in many forms, but never so potent to a predator when the destiny of a living creature is truncated to four simple letters: P.R.E.Y. …see?!
- We may be meditating on ways to kill you. It starts out as flattery, your good qualities inspire a strong hero character and so the seeds of a story are planted. But no good story ever takings flight without the wings of conflict, so now the inspiration child that you’ve given life to needs consternation, it needs an antithesis. Good conflict gives way to great conflict, and great conflict forces the hand of action …lethal action that will suffocate the flames of conflict. All of these thoughts are happening while you and your writer friend are having coffee.
- We are capable of destroying our most beloved. There is a phrase used by writers: “kill your darlings.” The phrase itself is meant to encourage authors to purge unnecessary phrases and passages for the sake of the greater benefit of the entire work; in a more literal sense, we have taken personalities that we, ourselves, have created and killed them. I’ve done it. Stephen King has done it. J.K. Rowling has done it to such an extent that she apologizes for one of these deaths on the same date every year.
- We don’t play by the rules. As a fiction writer, if we can’t get science or nature to play along with the necessities of the tales we’re telling, we simply bend the rules of science and nature. If my story requires little Johnny to ascend to the top of the tree, but he’s afraid of the snake on the branches, you best believe that he will sprout a pair of wings and do it. “But kids don’t have wings” you say? Kiss my ass, Margaret, they do in my book; they will continue to have wings until long after you are dead. History is written by the victors.
- We play with your emotions for sport. Writers know damn well what buttons on you to push; we know how to make your knees weak in the presence of true love, we can make your face spout streams of hot water, we can make you overjoyed, and we can replace the blood in your veins with liquefied rage. Don’t believe me? Writers have leveraged your emotions to such lengths that you’re beginning to know that we’re going to do it to you. There is an actual website called “Does the Dog Die?” A website that you can go to and see if a pet gets the hard goodbye in a movie. If writers didn’t toy with your emotions, what need would there ever be for a website like that? The answer is simple: it would be for people who want to see the dog meet Canine Jesus. Think for a moment, did the notion of someone going out of their way to see if a dog gets hurt (assuming that if it didn’t, they wouldn’t see the movie) make you a little angry?
- We never take good advice. The good advice: if someone hurts you, stop giving them the opportunity to do so. Fiction writers actually do the opposite, we seek out the abuse. The abuse isn’t physical (at least not at first), but is certainly emotional and mental; I’m talking about submitting stories and inquiries to literary magazines and literary agents. We take a project we’ve worked on, poured our heart and souls into, and we allow complete strangers to judge us on it. The Vegas odds of that submission being a positive experience are ridiculous. If you’re keeping score: we take our exhaustive labors and send them to strangers to tell us that our work is not good enough for them. We will do this over and over until someone says “I guess I’ll take a chance on you.” If you are a parent reading this, how many times would you let your child do this to themselves? How many times would you let your best friend do it before you realized that they are in a bad relationship and you said something? We know that the dog is going to bite us nine times out of ten, but we’re still going to try to pet the dog.
- We are perfectly aware of facts 1 through 9 and we readily acknowledge it. If the shoe fits, right?
So there you have it: ten perfectly good reasons that you shouldn’t trust a fiction writer to babysit your pet, let alone provide guidance over actual important issues.
The best advice I can give us to form an opinion for yourself, …but you really can’t trust me to tell you that, can you? 🙂