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Fiction vs. Fact

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When I was fourteen, I thought I’d never meet any people as interesting as the ones I read about in books. When I was thirty-eight, I thought my fourteen-year-old self was wrong and that I could prove it as soon as I met the right real people. Now I’m sixty and I know I was largely right at fourteen, but that some real people come close enough to their fictional counterparts to make it all worthwhile.

So here are some of the similarities and differences between fictional characters and the people you really meet.

Fictional characters can make you laugh.

Real people can make you laugh too.

Fictional characters can make you cry.

Real people can make you cry, too.

Fictional characters always stay the same, you can rely on them.

Real people are never the same two days running, which can make them fascinating.

Fictional characters can annoy you so much that you put the book down and never go back.

Real people can annoy you so much that you wish you could walk away and never go back, but most of the time you have to go on putting up with them.

Fictional characters provide sanctuary in your darkest hours.

Real people provide sanctuary in your darkest hours so long as they’re not busy doing something else.

Fictional characters stride amongst the stars.

Real people? Not so much, I find.

Fictional characters teach you a lot about how to live.

Real people tear up everything you ever learnt and teach you how to dance instead.

Fictional characters have innate wisdom.

Real people have social media.

Fictional characters are larger than life.

When real people are larger than life it’s a bit overwhelming.

Fictional characters wait for you until you are ready to read them.

Real people are always wandering off and having their own life whilst you’re debating what you want to do.

When fictional characters annoy you, you can blame the author.

When real people annoy you, it is somehow always your fault.

When the chips are down, fictional characters are brave and strong.

When the chips are down, real people eat them.

You can take a fictional character and make them do whatever you want.

Don’t even attempt that with real people.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without all the fictional people in my head.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without all the real people in my life.

It doesn’t matter if they’re fictional or real, cherish all the people in your life and try to bear in mind that even the ones you utterly loathe are adding savour to the dish.

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