There's this challenge. On TikTok. It's totally new. Like, old people have never done this thing. Seriously.
Here's how it goes: you lie down on your stomach and spread your limbs out like a starfish and here's the trick: you do not go to sleep. Instead! You imagine your favorite fictional setting / person as you count down from 100 and then... you shift. Or, uh, your reality shifts. And you're there, in the other place, the better place, with the hot fictional somebody. Like, really literally there. I'm not making any of this up.
Except, well, the truth is that I make stuff up all the time. All the stuff, all the time. I'm a longtime daydreamer and fanfiction writer, so yeah, I've imagined vivid scenarios with fictional hotties. (You probably have, too. It's okay to fess up in the privacy of your own brain.) TikTok folk are calling it "reality shifting," and it's on my mind right now because of how very big a thing it's become. Teens and young adults are needing to rename daydreaming so they can claim it as their own Brand New Thing, and I respect them for that, and also I totally get where they're coming from.
If I could yeet our stupid reality and replace it with waltzes with Labyrinth-era Bowie or pre-kingly, dirty ranger Aragorn, I would totally.
And the fact is, I do. That's, um, what being a writer is?
No one has ever in a long time!
Used their imagination to a replace their crappy reality where they have zero agency with a fantastic reality that they control completely.
So I not only understand the attraction to this challenge but I shall also take it as a challenge myself: I will now attempt to -- no, not reality shift, but also actually yes, to create a fictional world and fictional characters that will give my readers a haven, a safe place, a better place, and most importantly, power over their own minds. And, if they need it, an escape.
TikTok challenge accepted.