“The puny plot of the story was so thin, however, when compared to the deep mystery through which we were groping, and I found my attention wander so constantly from the fiction to the fact, that I at last flung it across the room, and gave myself up entirely to a consideration of the events of the day.” -Dr. Watson, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
With a work load creating a roller coaster of emotions, thoughts, and reactions, I came home, poured a bowl of cereal (my favorite comfort food), grabbed a few books, and headed to the patio with a golden retriever in tow. A relaxing night was ahead of me. My roommate and I shared a few stories and then I settled in, ready to lose myself in someone else’s world for a bit.
As I was engaging with Holmes and Watson on their journey, this quote jumped out of the page at me. There it was centered in the middle of the page, probably overlooked by the average reader. A few weeks ago, I probably would have just read over it as well, trying to get to the meat of the mystery, while being immersed in the sarcasm of Holmes.
But this week was different. I found myself doing the very thing Watson did. I closed the book (I didn’t fling it across the room, because, well, it’s one of my favorites) and “gave myself up entirely to the consideration of the events of the day.”
And, week for that matter. Weeks, actually.
Everyday is a different day and I’m realizing what a unique life I get to live. Today I participated in a drum circle, discussed proper confrontation, processed through potential clients, and ate pork rinds just to disgust one of my staff. Yesterday, I investigated fire codes, had a monologue complete with off-stage participants, and found myself wondering what was behind the curtain without really wanting to know (this is a long story for another day, trust me!). Each day holds a new experience!
So, like Watson in this moment I had to choose: fiction (a Sherlock Holmes mystery or perhaps my Eleanor and Park setting next to it) or fact (processing my real life experiences)?
If I choose fiction, I get to be immersed in a new, unique world full of colorful characters full of hope or despair, confidence or fear.
If I choose fact, I get to be immersed in a new, unique world full of colorful characters full of hope or despair, confidence or fear.
If I choose fiction, I get to picture what the characters might feel, think, act, but if I choose fact I get to relive watching a Peruvian Sister dance around the family room playing her instrument she had in her car, or laugh as each person awkwardly or energetically finding a rhythm they could play. If I choose fact, I may have to replay sitting with a potential client who couldn’t seem to engage and whose mother anxiously moved around the apartment. If I choose fact, I get to make life my own movie, my own story, my own art.
So tonight I choose fact…tomorrow will probably be fiction.