When reality blocks out once upon a time

I tried starting this entry “It was the morning of June 17, 2054,” and continuing from there, just to make it clear I was attempting fiction. On that day 31 years from now, this body — wherever it is and in what condition — will be 101 years and nearly three months old, and where “I” will be is a topic for philosophers and theologians, so the post wouldn’t be confused with nonfiction.

But fiction is not coming to me today. I spent too much of the morning reading and reflecting about the last three, or seven, or 20 years, when it constantly has felt like politicians, along with willing and unwitting accomplices in my business of journalism, were offering up fiction as facts — weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Russian tampering with U.S. elections, a virus so virulent that our only hope was to shut down business and industry, a “vaccine” that could prevent the disease — err, keep the disease from spreading — ummm, make the virus less virulent.

The line between fiction and non-fiction is so blurred that Nineteen Eighty-Four seems less a horror story than a training manual for our contemporary leaders. We have always been at war with Eastasia, after all, and if you remember that yesterday we were friends with Eastasia and at war with Eurasia, well, that was just Eastasian bots feeding you misinformation.

And so I write about “the real world” even though I’d rather write fiction. What wonder I might accomplish if I stopped wishing I was doing something else and instead focused on the needs of the here and now. I probably would find that the moment required these non-fiction words rather than a fanciful tale. But I do need to do some serious once-upon-a-timing soon.

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