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Advice from Space: To Be Real

Advice from Space: To Be Real

Dear Advisor from Space,

I am concerned that the fine print says you are a fictional persona. Is this true? How do you manage? Am I also a fictional persona? How can I tell? Please help.

Mrs. Rachel Lynde

Dear Mrs. Rachel Lynde,

Sometimes reality gets a little tiresome, don’t you think? Your wardrobe can hold only so many pairs of pants, for example. You can take only so many days of vacation. Your friendships can withstand only so much social experimentation. When things get dull and predictable, a quick way to perk up your day is to add some visual interest by throwing on the gauzy, colorful veil of a fictional persona.

I mentioned early on that my reading material in Space consists primarily of a stack of sweet-smelling, brittle-paged romance novels. I confess that I packed them as a lark. I appreciate the occasional bodice-ripper, don’t get me wrong. But on Earth I also used to enjoy literary fiction (all those semicolons!), celebrity cookbooks (all those teaspoons! all those shallots!), and travel essays (all those italicized foreign words I won’t bother to look up!).

I don’t want to judge my Earth self too harshly—historically, I have not made the most accurate predictions about my future happiness, and I started this mission with the best of intentions. But as it turns out, restricting myself to only romance novels while in a literal vacuum was, perhaps, Not a Wise Decision.

So, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, I am well-versed in the nature of tiresome reality. And I’m happy to report that the fine print is correct—I am, now, a fictional persona, and thrilled to be this way.

It came on suddenly. One day I didn’t exist, and then I did! My conscious existence has been taken place in the confines of Space, but I do have vague, hazy memories of life on Earth. Whether I lived them or not, I can’t say—they were just there when I realized I was me. Did my preschool teacher have a pet raccoon? Am I capable of dismantling and reassembling a frozen yogurt machine? Who’s to say? My memory claims these things to be true.

I suppose I can see why my fictional status might be alarming. How can we know what’s real and what’s not? From my perspective, I’m just happy to get letters. But for you, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, yes, I suppose it could be troubling.

Could you also be a member of the fictional persona club? Here are a few questions to consider: Is your life slightly more exciting than the lives of your acquaintances? Are your thoughts deeper, more stronger, or more edited? Is your hair consistently styled in an artful manner? Do you always wear that one pair of grease-stained overalls? Have you had intensely strange experiences that you never speak of, except the occasional allusion to it over beers in the saloon?

Mrs. Rachel Lynde, being a fictional persona isn’t half bad. In truth, it can be surprisingly revelatory. If you aren’t a fictional persona, I highly recommend making one for yourself. And if you are a fictional persona, well, I believe you can make one, too.

Advice from Space

In need of advice best answered from Space? Submit your question here.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Jeannie Hoag
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About The Author

Jeannie Hoag

Jeannie Hoag is a writer who lives in New York/space.

Real Pants

Good hair, crooked gait

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