Why I Want Fiction to be Fact

There is a house in Memphis that I have always loved. I moved recently (for anyone who still checks in here and didn’t know that) and I now drive past the house much more frequently. It’s on a rather large road that is lined by enormous, almost ridiculous houses. Some of them look like a plantation straight out of Gone with the Wind, while others are just  typical homes you might find in any suburb, but with sprawling lawns and immaculate landscaping.

The house I love is a bit different, though. It has some of the same features – insanely large, circular driveway, separate garage/guest house, etc. But this house looks like it could be the setting of an Edgar Allen Poe short story. It’s an odd mixture of stone and brick, some of which has stains that so many of the other houses have avoided. There are multiple chimneys and many of the windows have that awesome diamond-shaped iron pattern in them, rather than the more modern large panes. While it looks well taken care of, it also looks like it’s been there forever without any outside renovation being done. There is a large front lawn and huge trees surrounding the house and there may even be some ivy climbing the walls. If it weren’t smack dab in the middle of Memphis, it would all be very mysterious.

When I first saw the house, I immediately started imagining all kinds of stories about who lived there now and who had lived there before. Of course there would be hidden passageways and secret compartments and doorways disguised as bookshelves. It would be decorated with antiques and have all kinds of nooks and crannies with mysterious diaries and lost wills just waiting to be discovered. Surely it was the site of clandestine meetings or suspicious deaths or family intrigue; perhaps it was even haunted.

Turns out a friend of mine had actually been to a party at that house and the family that lives there is perfectly normal, although rather more well-off than most people I know. It’s decorated quite tastefully in a classic style and is as mysterious as my house.

Most of the time I pretend I’ve never heard what it’s like inside. While it’s great for that family that the house isn’t haunted by ghosts or the site of a grisly murder-suicide or the center of a tangled web of conspiracies, it was honestly a bit of a let down to find out just how ordinary the house really is.

It reminds me of the time in college when I would drive past one of those roads that is lined with trees in a way that makes a kind of tunnel of green. Every morning I would pass by as the sun was coming up behind the trees and it all looked so magical until the day I drove down it and it just led to another section of that particular suburb.

A lot of people I know are content to be in the “real world.” Some so much so that they don’t even enjoy science fiction or fantasy or musicals *gasp* because they contain things that would never happen in real life. But I so badly want those things to be real life.

I want there to be a mad man in a blue box who travels the universe saving planets and solar systems and telling people that in 900 years of time and space he’s never met anyone who wasn’t important. I want there to be a wardrobe that was carved from a tree that grew from a magic apple and that leads to a world where animals can talk and magic is real. I want there to be an alternate universe where people burst into song and everyone knows the harmony and the choreography. I want there to be a school in England where kids are trained to be witches and wizards. I want vampires to sparkle!

Ok, not really on that last one.

But the truth is that while my life is pretty dang awesome and there are times when things do seem magical and wondrous (mostly on those rare occasions when I get to see snow), I still find myself going back to stories with mysteries and quests and the fate of entire worlds hanging in the balance.

Maybe I should spend more time here in the “real world,” looking for the adventure and mystery and magic that people say is around every corner. Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places or for the wrong things. Maybe I should get my head out of the clouds and grow up.

But for right now, I’d rather just read a chapter of my book and then watch an episode of Doctor Who and still believe in fairy tales. Life’s just more fun that way.

Leave a comment


  1. Dad

     /  June 14, 2013

    Ah, yes. Some people go to the beach or the mountains or Europe for summer vacation. You go to RachelLand. Enjoy!!

  2. Nice to see you are writing again!


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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

    Twitter: @rachel_heather
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