Life Imitates Art

It’s no secret that I draw from my experiences to write fiction. I take a few people that I have met and create a character that is a composite of several of their features, or I take quirks that are interesting to me and imagine their cause or their effect. I worry sometimes that readers won’t  understand my particular brand of fiction, and will think they recognize a character in my story and think I am telling someone else’s truth. That’s why sometimes, when I write a story that is mostly (but not all) fictional, I keep it to myself. I worry about offending or embarrassing someone who might think I am talking abut them, even if what I am saying isn’t true. I use these stories as my own practice, and keep them private, often limiting access to people who wouldn’t think they know the real life muse.

Recently, a  young lady that I know died. And in grieving her loss, I realize that there is yet another story I have to pull from my repertoire, because the situation of her sickness and death is eerily similar to a story I wrote several years ago. The time stamp will reveal that the fact and the fiction aren’t related since her sickness was a recent event,occurring years after I first made up the story. But maybe someone won’t take the time to see that and think, from reading my made-up story, that they have details about this person’s real life.

Is this something other authors deal with? I think we are pretty comfortable with the idea that art imitates life but I wonder how we handle when life imitates art.

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