Magical Realism




Be realistic.
This is often followed by sentiments like: Enough with the pipe dreams, with “follow your dreams,” with fantasy.
Be realistic. It connotes a demand to abandon fancy, to come
down to earth, to stop being naïve. To be realistic, we tell one another by
our tone, is to abandon fun, and even hope. Be realistic is a shorthand for
life is hard. Or at least that’s how I’ve heard it.
And because that’s how I’ve heard it, being realistic sounds
like the last thing I’d ever want to be.
If to be realistic is to subsume ambition and desire underneath the sodden
blanket of eeking out a life, then screw realism. If to be realistic is to hear
that “real life” is something sharp and bruising, then it’s no wonder people
including myself have avoided the reality of life. Better to have eyes in the
sky and accidentally fall into pits, than to look down, and know that all of
life is littered with pits.

Realism gets a bad rap. Realism seems to sound like what Peter
Pan was actively eschewing with his Lost Boys. But, there’s a reason they were
lost: they weren’t looking at the ground either.

So, where is realism a positive? And can we change the idea
and the stigma of reality?
There are pits. Si. Oui. Hei. and Yes. Plenty and abundant
pits in which to bust an elbow, break a leg, and sink despairingly like a zebra in quicksand.
But reality offers us the chance to be aware of them. To avoid them if we can. Yet, if we fall in one–despite our diligence and through no fault of
our own–if we are in realism, we can recognize the tools we have around us to
get out of the pit.
If my eyes are focused in reality, in groundedness, in fact,
then they’re also focused toward opportunity. I can’t see the stepping stones
through the swamp if I’m looking at the trees.
(Fun to notice that my exposition on the advantages of realism
are based solely in the fantasy of metaphor!)
Realism has its pitfalls. Realism isn’t as fun as discerning
animal shapes out of clouds. But realism gets you to the solid ground that
enables you to look up and do so. 

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