I just watched V for Vendetta. One of the best quotes — which is somewhat beside the point of the film — is “Writers tell lies to tell the truth.”
This idea resonates with me. When you make up stories about people who only exist in your imagination, you tell lies. But they can be honest lies, lies that ring so true that you can’t help but believe them yourself, despite the fact that you know you made them up one night sitting out on your patio, two glasses into a cheap bottle of cabernet. The characters you create rise up out of the mist to face you, eye to eye, and you can’t help but gaze deep into their souls to see what they’re made of…and you can’t help but see your own reflection and judge what you are made of.
What stares back at you is the truth. Sometimes you see a coward who is afraid of life and the danger of love. That is the truth of the present. Other times you see a hero who faces her fears and loves with abandon and trust. That also is truth. It is the truth of possibility, no less true because it is a truth that is not yet realized. As you stare down both truths, you must grapple with the fact that the journey from the present truth to the realization of possiblity is a long one, and the only way to make the pilgrimage is one step…followed by another…followed by another…followed by another, until you can look back and see the present truth as the past: still true, but true only for a bygone age.
This is the journey all people must make, true people whether real or imagined. Stories are the chronicle of people travelling from Point A to Point B to Point C and beyond, and the lines may not be straight, but the points are all connected, the points are what form the outline and the guts and the truth of the person who stands alone and shining when the Writer finally types the words “The End.”