I’ve been thinking lately about fiction and God.
I’m not going to claim that God is fictional. Rather, imagine this, dear reader: God is not fictional–you are. God–or “the writer”–is, at this very moment, conjuring the world around you. Think a thought. A memory, perhaps. The writer has written it into your head. Just now, the writer has decided that you have a memory, and whatever you think about that memory amounts to a dance of celestial fingertips on a divine typewriter. Maybe the memory is of a moment the writer wrote for you in the past–or maybe your story began five seconds ago, and every memory you think you remember is being written as you “remember” it. Ink-black words are being dropped into your blank page of a head from on high.
Because this is the life of a fictional person. Imagine if you were to show Harry Potter his own series. Yes, ‘Arry, there was a prophecy–it was written by a middle-aged British billionaire. Your J.K. Godling. And it doesn’t stop there–all those other stories are other universes, meticulously woven by the fates known as writers. Every moment of an instance of a life, dreamt, outlined, drunkenly written, erased, forgotten, edited, rewritten, rewritten, rewritten–until it becomes a reality. Yes, that’s your fucking life. It’s a good plan, on paper.
We all have our own gods, then–our own writers who govern us. And hey–maybe they have their own writers too. Layers and layers of monkeys and keyboards. Creating worlds in their own image. “My characters are all aspects of myself.” Is that so, you damn dirty ape? Then why are you forsaking us all the time?
I think about all this not because I want to start some sort of religion (enough Hubbards have done that, I fear), or because I want to imagine that I am the hero of whatever story I am being forced to play out, but because life is just fuckin’ funny sometimes. I guess my mind goes to weird places to make sense of all the handfuls of nothing I’ve grasped.
Now I’m looking down at the coarse paper I’m walking on. The soles of my feet are stained with the ink of words I can’t read until I’ve already stepped on them. The hills go up, and in, then up again, and dowwwwnnn, and when I think it’s the end of the whole goddamned world there’s a flip, and I’m at the bottom of a new hill and I know my feet will be so much blacker by the end, whatever the end is, but I just want to look over that precipice, just for a moment, just to see what’s there, beyond the words. Maybe I’ll see it when there’s no more hills.
Listen: That’s religion, to me. Reaching the back cover and diving off.