Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Really Real

Published in Strays.

“The habit of excessive novel-reading and theatre-going will produce true monsters in this line. The weeping of the Russian lady over the fictitious personages in the play, while her coachman is freezing to death on his seat outside is the sort of thing that everywhere happens on a less glaring scale.” —William James

What a shame it is, the dimmed internal sensitivity to what’s really real. How embarrassing to recognize that a view isn’t a scene or a setting. What I see is living, but it suffers for not having been sold to me. The park isn’t meant to represent beauty or everyday life or passing clarity. It is all of those things, yet I take it to represent none of them. This is so boring because of what it’s not. It’s a moment so within reach that it doesn’t feel real. I can touch it, but by being achievable the moment becomes devalued relative to its fictional equivalent. The projection of reality and emotion and true holds more weight. The smile and the frown across the park are nothing compared to the billboard. The frustrated glare at the cellphone is nothing compared to the film. The writing isn’t valuable until it’s optioned by an investor.