So this is how it starts: I'm out and about early in the morning, walking Woki down to the Lake. We pass the usual assortment of other dog walkers, power walkers, social walkers, and solo walkers. Most of them smile and return our, "Good morning," and it becomes a game predicting who will respond.
There is a solo walker I see from quite a distance, mainly because she is dressed in a full-body electric blue leotard, partially covered by a yellow and white tunic that billows like a silk sail around her. She is walking briskly, and her hair--her dazzling red hair--flames out behind her like a jet contrail. When she passes, she offers no greeting. Instead, her face is tight with concentration. It is not a happy look. For all the brilliant gaiety of her garb, this young woman has a world of hurt at 7:15 on a beautiful summer morning.
Or so it seems. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Fictionland. It's a fun and wonderful place much of the time, but it can be scary as well. Let's see what happens to our red-haired gal in Fictionland.
First, she needs a name. Mariah. It's got to be Mariah. Dramatic, slightly exotic, and just a touch of something Old World. She's in a hurry, rushing to catch the train, no doubt. She'll go downtown, audition for that dance part, get rejected yet again, and then....
Ah, you get the idea. This can go on and on, which is the fun of Fictionland. The scary part is that bad things will have to happen to Mariah or no one will care about her. But in Fictionland, the endings don't always have to be terrible. To paraphrase Jane Austen, stories can have happy endings as long as the characters go through a great deal of trouble to get there. And though extended time in Fictionland makes me feel as though I've spent too much time on a carnival ride, I will visit Mariah there until I know her story well enough to tell it to you.