Half-Baked Theories: A Series

You know how people are more and less susceptible to hypnosis? With some who just can't be hypnotized, and others who fall under the spell even if they're just in the audience? (Please note: all complaints about the appearance of hypnosis here can be directed to The Lathe of Heaven, which I just read and is now stuck in my head in small and surprising ways).

Now add to that notion two triggers: 

1) Chestnut said, "Wait, let me tell you what she said." Then almost to herself, "She's so funny." She was talking about a fictional character. This fictional character.

2) On Twitter (sorry! I know!) I follow someone named Theresa Lauren wrote: "People keep acting like I'm supposed to care more about them than I care about fictional characters. It's so weird."

Result? My brain took these three things and mixed them up to form half-baked theory #1. There are some people who are susceptible to fiction. As in: they just believe it. I am one of them. The characters seem just as real (if not more so) than the people I meet in regular life, the worlds created have just as much actual weight. It's not exactly "liking to read," which you hear people worrying all the time. "Why doesn't he like to read? I always liked to read at his age!" It's more fiction-centered, it's just…buying the whole concept of an alternate world. And you can have it more strongly and less, like the ability to see in three dimensions (see Oliver Sacks's The Mind's Eye, which is pretty crazy and wonderful).

And here's the nice thing about a blog: I can spout this whole half-baked theory and no one will stop me as a write it and say, "But wait, what about…." I can just get it out of my system, and carry on with my day.

However? I really think it's true. And fair warning: there are more half-baked theories coming. 

13 thoughts on “Half-Baked Theories: A Series

  1. I think that is entirely true. For example – my husband. He “hates” to read but will read any book about sports or any biography you put in front of him. He is the same way with television. I am constantly telling him that he just needs to press the “I believe” button and get into the story, but I have realized that he doesn’t know how.

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  2. It’s completely true – I often find myself thinking, “it’s too bad that _____ is a fictional character. We would totally be BFF’s.”
    And I also think it’s inherited, because both my children have a very strong proclivity to this phenomena as well.

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  3. I think that’s absolutely true. I see this in my kids. One is into nonfiction about animals. She reads plenty of fiction and enjoys it, she’s just not into it. There’s a difference between liking something and being totally sucked into something.

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  4. Oh, I’m definitely fiction-susceptible! Give me a new, far-out world that’s past the normal tropes and I will gladly devour every well-written word. I’m such a quick belief-suspender w. fiction (and such a skeptic about perceived untruths in what should be totally fact-based writing or tv).
    Now my dad will read nonfiction forever and ever, even if he already knows every trivial tidbit about that subject.
    Good nonfiction is wonderful, but I do love fantastic fiction.

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  5. YES.
    It’s why I hate being interrupted while reading – I’m totally jarred from one universe into another. It’s also why I get so anxious when I have to stand back and watch these characters that I love make bad decisions or get hurt or whatever.

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  6. yup, right now my 7 year old is working a conjuring a fairy because she read it in a book…an absolutely convinced it will work. Other days, she’s 100% committed to keeping Eloise’s schedule of ordering beef tenderloin from room service and practicing having temper fits. I think she may be one of the fiction susceptible.

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  7. The twelve-year-old and I are both totally fiction-susceptible. The ten-year-old enjoys fiction, but prefers non-fiction, like her father.
    By the way, I just re-read The Lathe of Heaven after thirty years. Amazing, hmm?

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  8. Yes- We actually inhabit the world we are reading about. I must admit, it happens less now than when I was younger. I believe that is because I sit down less often to read fiction for an extended period of time, also I just don’t like a lot of modern adult fiction. I still read kid’s books and YA too though. Inhabiting the place just happened to me yesterday when I read (for the first time) McCaffrey’s first in the Pern Dragonrider series. So I guess it can still happen.

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  9. I am also fiction-susceptible. My kids are too, I am pretty sure. I love your “half-baked” theories and can’t wait to read about more of them. They don’t seem “half-baked” to me!

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