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  • Writer's pictureSamuel C. Greenlees

Inside the Addiction of Fiction

Updated: Apr 3

One life. That's all we get - in the western tradition, anyhow. No pressure, right? One chance to find a purpose. One shot to get it right. One comical attempt to understand enough before the long sleep or a stroll through the pearly gates comes up next on the agenda.

Being born an infant is a blessing. Can you imagine opening your eyes for the first time as a conscious adult? It would be like glancing through a peephole to find a shotgun of mystery staring point-blank at your mind's eye. Don't blink.

It's not surprising that much of our humanity is wrapped in the pita bread of meaning and expression. Luckily, we grow to the challenge from the time of our birth. In fact, we were geniuses at discovery once. Remember? Back before we began chemically altering our attitudes, we went out to play. Where we confronted a lack of understanding, we invented meaning. We just made stuff up. We were creative bastards back then.

There were whole backstories to explain your neighbor Bobby's death at the hands of a mutant zombie football team and why only you could resurrect him using the model of a B-24 Liberator that had once been hanging from your brother's ceiling. We were freakishly good at pretending. On summer days, we left the house with one duty - to explore. It was our whole raison d'etre: find something new, give it a name, and place it at the heart of the next conspiracy. We were born liars. It was our nature. And then, a new idol entered stage right - puberty.

It's difficult to be creative when worshiping at the altar of the flesh - real or imagined. But who could blame us? Nature is a bitch that way. She didn't care about the next fictitious adventure. She was a black hole of hormones; a storm of sensation that utterly destroyed our will to be creative thinkers. The proof of this lies in the answer to one simple question: What has been the top-selling genre of fiction for the last several decades? Answer: Romance novels. We're junkies, but at least we still like a good backstory to go along with it.

Luckily, nature relaxes her grip over time or when we meet her demands, and the fog of tending to the species dissipates. Once more we turn to story and song (which I would argue are simply two versions of the same thing) to explore the world in which we find ourselves - to brush against meaning and purpose. Funny how those questions - 'why am I here' and 'what is that thing over there' - never really went away.

“Writing is something you do alone. It's a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it." - John Green, Thoughts from Places: The Tour

As adults, we tend to be consumers of fantasy more than creators of it, if only because of the demands of daily life. But there is still a spark within each of us. Writing that novel or performing on-stage is still on the bucket list for many, though the reasons may vary. For some, we simply long to pretend again. For others, the urge to harmonize with the world is undeniable. But for a smaller sect, there is a strange - almost foreign imperative to get an idea out of their heads - to survive it. I'll admit to being plagued by each of these at one time or another. I say plagued because at heart I am a consummate introvert. In the world of self-publishing and promotion, that's playing with one arm tied behind your back.

Fortunately, there are people in the world who have created spaces to give authors, such as myself, a way to provide insight into their work - to describe it in more detail. Christal Rice Cooper is one of these fabulous folks who love to explore the creative process and posted a feature of my story, The Fall of Never, a few years ago under the 'Inside the Emotion of Fiction' section of her blog, Art and Humanity Framed in the Photofeature Story. Check it out if you're curious about my writing environment and process while working on it. It's a quick read.

As for backyard pretending, I still miss the mornings of my youth when I would awake with the notion that a tree, a stream, or a cave could be the next setting for an adventure that would save the world. In my mind, the voices have always been insistent that perpetual peril surrounds us. In my mind, it was always up to me and my friends to save the day. Don't believe me? Read my books.

The Fall of Never
The Battle of the Innocent

The first two books of Samuel C. Greenlees' Never's Tempest Series are available for purchase today on or read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Book 3 in the series is scheduled to be released in June 2024.

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