Thursday 29 April 2010

When Reality and Fiction Collide

I had a rather odd experience tonight, and I want to share it in case anyone has ever had anything similar happen to them.

I was on the tube, heading home from a most enjoyable evening, when I noticed a white postage label stuck to the corner of the briefcase belonging to the man two seats down from me. You don't normally stick labels on something as 'serious' as a briefcase, so I sneaked a second glance. The handwriting was somewhat childish, and something about it made me fish my notebook out of my bag, and start to write. I scribbled away, 'capturing' the sorts of things that always catch my eye, aware that in doing so, I was inventing a back story for this total stranger. Of course, in these situations, you never know much of what you've written is invention, and how much is intuition. Without stopping this stranger to ask them about their life, which in London would probably be the prelude to a punch in the face, you'll never know. But anyway, I digress.

Just before I got off the train, I took one last look at this stranger, and somehow managed to transpose my invented back story onto him. I actually felt so sorry for him that I almost hugged him! Had I gleaned the truth from those tiny details and actually proved I'd make a good spy, or was I being in some way sadistic in foisting an unhappy home life on somebody that I didn't know, and never would know?

Have you ever managed to confuse a back story you've created yourself with real life?


Eisley Jacobs said...

That is cool! Too bad you didnt take out your camera phone and snap a pic of the odd sticker and briefcase ;)

Carrie Clevenger said...

I accept reality as a model for my stories. Good call on the notebook. I'd love to see your story. (Yes I confuse reality with my fiction a lot). Shh. Don't tell anyone. ;)

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