Stranger Than Fiction

The other night I watched Mission Impossible 3, the one where Tom Cruise swings from one skyscraper to another on a rope. His buddies tell him if he hits the other skyscraper he’ll get smushed. But he does it anyway because, you know, it is called Mission Impossible. He does not get smushed, but he does crash through a window, and then swings back out, relatively unharmed.
How I know this is fiction is that last week, right about the time I was supposed to be writing last week’s blog entry, I myself crashed into a glass door. And my nose got smushed. Well, broken, actually. I was walking at top speed and did not see the very clean glass door that was in front of the glass door I was actually aiming for. So my focus was on the further door. Anyway, the point is, I was only walking and my nose broke. Watching Tom Cruise swing from skyscraper to skyscraper and go through a plate glass window at centrifugal force speed and not get hurt seemed particularly ficticious as I sat with my black eyes and sore face.
Yet when I write fiction, it needs to be believable. Why is it that spy movies (and possibly novels) can be so far-fetched, and yet we watch them with disbelief suspended? Is it because we are not spies and impossible missioners so we can think, “Well, that could happen…”? Or is going along for the ride just too much fun? I know one thing. It sure was fun to watch, but as I watched him crash through the window all I could think of was how much that would hurt if it were real. I definitely had a different perspective after the glass door attacked my nose!

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