Suspending Disbelief

Writers sometimes ask a lot of their readers. No more so when we write action, fantasy, science fiction and horror. It is within those realms that we ask our readers to suspend disbelief. That is to ignore their critical faculties, to sacrifice reason, to set aside logic and to believe the surreal and the absurd for the sake of entertainment. Poet/philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge is credited with coining the term in 1817.

I’m always a fan of writing that makes sense, but sometimes the ‘makes sense’ part is subject to the fictional world in which it exists. In the far future, in another dimension, when the surreal world encroaches upon our own, the reader must let go of his preconceived notions and the things he knows to be true in order to enjoy the story he’s reading. Really, how much more fun is it to believe the impossible for the length of a novel than to constantly remind one’s self what is true?

Of course, there are are many shades of this particular grey and some ‘disbeliefs’ will more easily suspended than others. You might be able to get ‘aboard’ an alien starship because the existence of aliens has neither been proven nor disproven. Perhaps you don’t buy into the concept of alien life in our universe but you may be able to enjoy a story set in the distant future because we can only imagine the kinds of amazing technology humans will develop given enough time. Maybe you like a modern day conspiracy theory story with a shadowy government organization operating behind the scenes. In all of these examples there is that leap of imagination requiring the suspension of disbelief.

So if you find that suspending disbelief is not something you easily do, then realistic fiction will be your only cup of tea. I do hope you like tea in all its many flavors!

It’s not you- Soju, it’s me…

Week 15 in the Year of Drinking Adventurously. Soju.

I am in a funk all around, the last week or so.  My post is reflective of that mood.  Speaking metaphorically, I feel like I’m traversing the Pacific in a sailing ship and hitting the doldrums.

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!  – Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Maybe it’s the crappy weather hanging on too long.  We had wet snow on Saturday!  Maybe it’s the fact that my wanderlust is in overdrive.  I really need to get out of here.  I have plans for a road trip in May but it feels like forever away.  So I had a little trouble mustering enthusiasm for this week’s entry:  Soju from Korea.  And the folks at the liquor store are whispering and pointing when I come in to shop these days.  “Psst.  It’s that lady that buys all the weird booze.”  Hey, you guys stock it so…

It was exactly like Jeff’s book described – “a slightly sweet spirit…  with a more pronounced hit of ethanol on the nose than in shochu.”  First, I tried sipping it straight so as to get the full flavor of the soju.  I can’t compare it to anything else I’ve had before.  Next, I tried making a cocktail.   Which, if you’ve been following along, you know is really not my thing.  Nevertheless, according to the book soju works well in the same kind of cocktails you’d make with vodka so…

Soju blossom – invented by me!  

 In a shaker with ice:
1 1/2 oz soju
1 1/2 oz vodka (I added vodka for the extra kick, but you don’t have to, just double the soju)
juice of 2 oranges (Use fresh juice, it’s soooo much nicer!)
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
Serve in a Martini glass with fresh orange peel.

Very refreshing.  And the drink is sort of healthy with the juice and ginger.  I was thinking maybe infusing it with honeydew might be an idea…  “for he on honeydew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise.”  Kubla Khan – Samuel Talor Coleridge

So this has nothing to do with soju, but I’m on a roll here…

The English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and I share a birthday which I think is pretty cool.   He is one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in the 1700s.  His most famous work, besides Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the long poem, Christobel, is the fragmented poem Kubla Khan which came to him during an opium dream.  The poem is famously unfinished thanks to an untimely knock at of Coleridge’s door, interrupting the stream of consciousness and losing the rest of the words to the wind.  I was slightly obsessed with Kubla Khan as a teenager because the RUSH song Xanadu was inspired by it. I used to be able to recite the entire thing.

In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph the sacred river ran
Through the caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea…

I hope this post wasn’t too weird for you.  I’ll snap out of it.  Promise.  And don’t forget to check out Lula‘s adventures with soju!