Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Difference between Fantasy and Insanity

Fantasy: imaginary, make-believe, made-up, unreal, invented, pretend, imagined, fictional, illusory
Insanity: foolishness, irrationality, senselessness, absurdity, folly, recklessness, stupidity, craziness

I have worked in health care my whole career and started my career path by working in a state psychiatric hospital with geriatric patients. Recently I have been reminded of my beginnings when dealing with a family member who lapsed into an alternate reality due to the death of a spouse. This experience has made me re-examine the question, what is the difference between fantasy and insanity?

I have a very vivid imagination, and have had some acquaintances and friends tell me it’s a little “out there.” As a result, writing fantasy suited me. It allowed me free reign on creating a make-believe world. But, what makes my work believable and acceptable versus being considered irrational and absurd?

Ah, the crux of what will sell as opposed to what will sit in a drawer never to see the light of day again! Could it be that the only real difference between the two is perception? If you can get enough people to believe the world you’ve created, then it becomes real and not imaginary?

As one person put it on a forum board, “The real is only as real as you believe it is. What's imaginary is as imaginary as you believe it is. If you want, the real becomes imaginary, and what's imaginary becomes real.”

I pray my characters will be imaginary, not folly~that they’ll be illusory, not foolish~and finally, that they’ll be embraced not abhorred.

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