Fiction: literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people
Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them
Remember when Twilight was such a big deal? Girls fighting over Team Edward or Team Jacob. I heard more serious debates that put strains on friendships than I care to admit. Countless fan clubs, costumes, and all sorts of swag erupted like Mount Vesuvius. I was one of those people who attended the midnight release of the books and movies, because I, too, loved the books. But the difference between me and all the Twihards: I know it’s fiction.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If it’s a really good book, I can get lost in the storyline. The characters become my friends, my family. Their pain is my pain, their laughs are my laughs. When they hurt, I cry. When they celebrate, I rejoice. At the end of a good series, I feel a sense of lost and sadness that there won’t be anymore time with these friends. That I won’t get to see any more of their experiences, their life lessons. And that is heartbreaking.
When the last Sookie Stackhouse book arrived on my doorstep, I waited months to read it. I couldn’t imagine an end to the series. When I read the last line on the final page of book sixteen (technically, it was book eighteen when you add in the prequel and mid-series books) of Pretty Little Liars, I questioned if it was really the end of A. When I closed the door on the Hunger Games trilogy, I craved more. These characters and their stories touched my soul in different ways, and I wasn’t ready to let them go.
That can be said for standalones as well. Sometimes, the story is just so good that I wish the author would write more. Maybe it’ll be like Cora Carmack’s Rusk University series, where each book focuses on a different set of characters. Maybe it’ll be the same characters with more stories. Or it could be Colleen Hoover, who has captured my heart several times. Or Brinda Berry, Penny Reid, Jamie McGuire, Ginger Scott, or Jay Crownover. I just want to beg for more.
Yet no matter how lost I get in their stories, I never lose sight of the fact that they are just that: STORIES. Fiction. Imagination. Fantasy. NOT REAL.
Sometimes, people get lost in the fiction. I know that personally, on more than one occasion, reading has been an escape from real life. Reality can be miserable. It can be a struggle. Losing yourself in the fictional world of sunshine, rainbows, and pink unicorns (or lots and lots of angst) might be preferred. Hell, it might be ideal.
But at the end of the day, you still have to live. In this world. In your own reality.
So enjoy the fiction, but never forget the reality.