In the words of Jessamyn West, fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures. It's through art and writing that we get to know ourselves, though it's interesting to note how keen people are on trying to disprove the truth of nonfiction, and find truth in fiction. The reason for this is that we're more comfortable with the interpretations than we are the facts. It's like what happens in reverse psychology: when you know you have to do something because someone else demands it, you resist it because it creates the feeling of being "stuck." The discomfort — alongside all the desirable emotions — becomes inevitable. It's for this reason that we create and tell and interpret stories. Fiction opens your mind to the alternatives, whereas nonfiction tells us what we don't — but need — to know.
Writing — especially fiction writing — is intensely therapeutic. We can heal from past experiences, explore outlandish ideas, and discover what our subconscious brings to light when given the chance to express itself. Most people rarely give their minds a chance to explore themselves, but when you're doing so under the guise of "make believe," it all becomes more approachable. You should pay close attention to what stories you dream of, tell or write about: they are metaphors, representations, and messages for you in your waking life. So even if you just want something to occupy yourself with on a boring Sunday night, keep your stories in journals. You'll look back and realize that you were either telling another story altogether, or that the potential to be creative is not a trait, but a choice. Here, 15 prompts to get you started:
- People are born with tattoos telling their future. You're obsessed with figuring out what yours mean, and you research by pairing other people's life events with their markings. Here's what you know so far. <img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/b6539210-4915-0133-8ef0-0e17bac22e39.gif?w=320"/>
- The internet is a war, each site is a country. What's happening?
- Extraterrestrial life is getting to know us via popular music — it's the sound wave they best pick up on. Here's what they know so far.
- Write a memoir of your last relationship in one sentence.
- Write your life story only through the clothing you wore. <img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/e6b5b240-4915-0133-0a8d-0e76e5725d9d.gif?w=320"/>
- It turns out that Earth is one big hologram after all, and in reality, you are sitting behind a screen, playing the character. You are approached by a game master who tells you the hacks to winning at human life, without anybody knowing that you know them. Here is what they are.
- A lawyer, governor, physician, philosopher and priest gather around a table. One of them has discovered the ability to bring human life back from the dead. They are using a substance with a very short half-life, and only have maybe a week to figure out who they will choose, and how it will affect people.
- God decides to judge humanity one final time before the Apocalypse, so he opens a retail shop to observe them from a cashier's perspective. <img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/38fe2100-4916-0133-8ef4-0e17bac22e39.gif?w=320"/>
- You get a job at a major, mainstream media company only to find that you were employed to help them mind-control people by omitting facts and twisting stories. Your assignment is to show up to the meeting with what you want to sell the public, and why you think it's beneficial to humanity. Telling the truth is not an option. It's just what lie you choose.
- Write a Yelp review of Earth.
- There's new technology that allows you to communicate with your pet, but it's very expensive, and highly sought after, and after using up a ton of your savings, you'll only have a few minutes to tell them something. What would you want them to know?<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/6410bc20-4916-0133-8ef2-0e17bac22e39.gif?w=320"/>
- You find out you're going to die within the next few weeks — you don't know when — but before you do so, you will be downloaded with information that the entire world needs to know. You are to write a book of it. Once it's done, you'll die — because human life wasn't meant to sustain that kind of energy or knowledge. Here's what you say.
- You exist in a world where you do not need to write or speak perfectly to publish your writing. Here are the three most compelling stories from people who never otherwise would have had a voice.
- You have one minute — 60 seconds — during which every single person in the world will hear what you say. <img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/b4bfe600-4916-0133-8ef9-0e17bac22e39.gif?w=320"/>
- Each of the body parts represent a different aspect of the human experience. This is common knowledge. For example: the heart is love, because it flows everywhere and keeps you alive. Explain what each of the other organs/limbs represent.
Images: Pexels; Giphy