TSS - Subjective Reality

Good morning Saloners! I'm up with my cup of coffee and ready to roll. OK. Who am I kidding? I'm ready to sit here on the couch with my coffee and devour my RSS Feed. Eventually I'll be ready to roll. :P

Teresa over at Shelf Life got me thinking. In her SS she shared her love of plays and it reminded me that my all time favorite piece of literature is Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello. I read this play in college and could not get enough of it. Have you read it? If not a quick synopsis:

There are six fictional characters who show up in a theatre vehemently demanding their story be told. The actors on the stage are shocked as the characters bend their perception of reality. What ensues is conflict between the characters and actors as they search for an joint understanding.

SCiSoaA is filled with wonderful thought-provoking quotes.

"We have this illusion of being one person for all, of having a personality that is unique in all our acts. But it isn't true. We perceive this when, tragically perhaps, in something we do, we are as it were, suspended, caught up in the air on a kind of hook. We perceive that all of us was not in that act, and that it would be an atrocious injustice to judge us by that action alone, as if all our existence were summed up in that one deed." ~ The Father

It was after reading this play that I had one of my Ah-Ha moments. (C'mon, I was an undergrad, they were fairly significant!) I've always been fascinated with reality bending. It's my favorite philosophical debate: what is real, how do we define reality, to what extent is it perception, etc.

As a child my favorite movie was Nightmare on Elm Street (I had very lenient parents, I was reading Stephen King in the 3rd grade). What fascinated me wasn't the gore or the horror, it was this character - Freddy - being able to leave our nightmares and enter the "real" world. Or, people entering the dreamworld and having real experiences. How wonderful! How, well, surreal.

After I finished my undergrad in literature and took of a few years, I pursued a double master's in therapy. During these two years I grew fascinated with schizophrenia. Humans completely embodying reality bending. My favorite theorist was Carl Rogers. As a phenomenologist, he felt that in order to work with these individuals we need to enter their world rather than force them into ours.

Moving back to literature, though, I love books that force this reality bend. Being Written, which I read last year, is the last book that truly captures that feel. In the novella, the main character believes that he is a minor character in a story. Hoping to become the main character he pursues interactions and situations to put him in the forefront of the story. As the reader, we question the reality of the situation.

I'd like to read more reality-bending books (for lack of better term, and I'm sure there's one out there!) but just don't know how to find them. Do you have any suggestions?


  1. I like the sound of Being Written. I don't know many books that fall into this area.

    I was scared stiff by Nightmare on Elm Street. In fact I just cannot watch horror movies at all.

  2. I didn't really understand that play when I read it. I think I was just clueless at the time. I should give it another go.

  3. Argh! All the books I can thing of that might fit this description are ones where you don't learn reality is being bent until the end--so I can't name them without spoiling them.

    Have you seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction? Your description of Being Written did bring it to mind. The main character can actually hear the voice over narrator talking about what he's doing. It wasn't fabulous, but I thought it was worth seeing.


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