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  • Robert Bruce Adams

Know Thyself

I HAVE TRIED FOR SEVERAL YEARS to move into writing fiction. My reasoning goes like this: With my late in life passion for essay, why couldn’t I just invent some characters with over the top personalities and weave a compelling tale to their delight, and mine? To my dismay, I have stalled in my many attempts. It just doesn’t seem to work for me, and it isn’t the typical writer’s block that you read about.

I’ve tried many characters and story lines in my efforts. One was about a fella that demonstrated his fondness for matches by setting ablaze a 110-room hotel at the turn of the last century. He perished in the inferno, trapped by an unexpected blocked door. He then rebooted, became a ghost, and haunted summer residents in my lakeside harbor where the three-story hotel once stood.

In another attempt, I had my main protagonist murder Jimmy Hoffa. The killer just happened to be the spitting image of the union steward at my summer golf course maintenance job in Detroit who didn’t particularly care for me, or Jimmy. The essays have stalled because they are make-believe. It is seriously frustrating to me to be pulled in this direction as some proof of a higher calling. I don’t want to write fiction.

Why do I have a problem with this, and why do people love fiction? I have come to believe that life is mostly a story of interpretations. Something to do with our condition of being human. Bottom line, we all live in degrees of fantasy. So, why not write about characters as if they are real? You know, fake it.

Disclosure, transparency, and seeking a deeper meaning are attributes that wrap their claim around me in my daily writing, but they quickly disappear when I deviate from this approach and flirt with fiction. This seems to be at the heart of my anxiety about make-believe.

I’m taking myself much too seriously these days in trying to, “know thyself.” It must be those darned holidays playing on my psyche.

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