Your old world getting a little tired there, son? I can see the holes in it! Why, it’s hardly worth calling it a world anymore. It’s barely a planet at all! Where’s the sense of wonder? The grand vistas? The ideas bigger than people? Where’s the sense of charm? That little something that just makes you smile?
I know what you need! One new earth, right here, right for the taking – just one small price! Sure, sure, I see that you think it’s too much to pay, but come here! Come see! This is no bauble, no showman’s trick! Yes, son, I am a showman, and yes, I know many tricks, but this is not one of them, as sure as my hat is tall!
See how it shimmers and shines? It’s what you’ve always wanted, isn’t it? A chance to start over? A chance to load the cosmic dice and have a place that fulfills your fantasies of revenge or lust or – oh, I see! You’re such an innocent boy, aren’t you? Ah, you want a place where the good guys always win and the bad guys twirl their mustaches! Well, we can do that, too!
This new earth here can be whatever you want it to be. There’s just one catch: You can only visit. You can’t stay.
Well, why not? People will think you’re mad, trying to stay on an earth that’s newer than yesterday! And they’ll be right.
But don’t mind them. The mad people are the fun ones.
Oh, what am I saying? A boy like you can’t have something as valuable as this. No, I’ll put it back on the shelf. No, no, it’s too late, I’m afraid. I’ve realized that with your power, you could destroy a wonder like this.
Why, you could make this new earth anything you please. And what darkness lurks in your heart, boy? Oh, yes, so innocent. I know the truth. Children are capable of the greatest evils of all. No, it’s not popular, but any child that’s faced a bully knows that truth in heart and marrow. Your feigned innocence drew me in for a moment there.
But no, no, I can’t give you this.
Are you sure?
Well, all right then. I’ll let you give it a try.
Yes. It’s blank paper.
Don’t look at me like that, as if I’ve pulled an old, old trick on you! The oldest tricks are the best! Come now. You’re reading a blog, not actually on the midway! Yes, my swanky appearance drew you in, but both you and I know better!
And you know the truth, too: We all long for a new earth. A place less broken. A place more real.
Every fiction is a new world. A lot of nonfiction is, too.
Every made-up story is a doorway into a new earth, an entry into a place that’s not here. And here we’re going to talk about those new earths we dream up. Maybe visit one or two. Talk about some other earths other fellers and ladies have cobbled together from dreams and stomach pains. We’ll tackle how to build up some new earths of our own, and why we want to do it, too.
So come with. Maybe it’s not the midway. Maybe I’m not wearing a tall hat (but I really want to).
But maybe you’ll have some fun anyway.