Friday, January 22, 2016

Life Imitates Art?

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”     
Oscar Wilde

Real news stories:

1.    Someone found a previously unknown Olof Krans painting. It made the Galva News just in time for Krans’ birthday party. (The painting is now on display in the Bishop Hill Museum.)
2.    A 75-year-old Texas grandma swerved her car to avoid hitting an animal and went off into a ravine. She went undiscovered for 48 hours.

I think I have to disagree with Wilde’s quote, because I dreamed these ideas up for my novel—before reading about them in the newspaper. I’d like to think I was just ahead of the curve for a change.

I had a calculus professor lecture on the frequency of odd coincidences happening. The infinitesimal and improbable happens all the time if you look at it the right way. (The right way is working backwards. It’s highly unlikely to predict the rare occurrence, but you can appreciate it after it happens and then work out the equation.)  

I believe my work comes down to art imitating life. I like to use elements of the real world to shape and fill out such things as: characters, places, and situations in my fiction. I feel I’ve created something wholly new out of these bits and pieces.

Perhaps a better example would be a PBS episode of Father Brown. The Wilde quote was used with the emphasis placed on the later part—art imitating life. In that mystery, scratches and soot on the floor where used as fictional devices in a fantasy novel, but when Father Brown noticed the real scratches and soot that inspired the fantasy story—he used them to discover a secret room. Art led to solving the mystery.

Maybe it is all a matter of perspective, but I hope my art will lead to bigger things and larger themes.

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