It's funny how you go through life in your little bubble, and then your bubble collides with someone else's bubble and does that bubble thing, you know where they look like one bubble, but really there's this wall down the middle. Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a cluster, surrounded by friends (or, if you prefer the negative, walled in all around). Or sometimes you are simply all alone, lonely but floating gently over the world, with good fat perspective all around.
Okay, enough of the bubble analogy.
The truth is, though, we carry our little reality around with us everywhere. I looked up "reality" on wikipedia (which struck me as an amazingly odd thing to do); I highly recommend the entry. It's fascinating seeing how many different things can be discussed under that one-word heading. Among other things was this:
"On a much broader and more subjective level, the private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and selectivity involved in the personal interpretation of an event shapes reality as seen by one and only one individual and hence is called phenomenological. This form of reality might be common to others as well, but at times could also be so unique to oneself as to be never experienced or agreed upon by any one else. Much of the kind of experience deemed spiritual occurs on this level of reality. From a phenomenological perspective, reality is that which is phenomenally real and unreality is nonexistent. Individual perception can be based upon an individual's personality, focus and style of attribution, causing him or her to see only what he or she wants to see or believes to be true."
So there you have it: all your feelings, beliefs and interests, all tied up neatly in a nutshell. Or, as I said, a bubble.
If you look up the science on neurons and reality, you will get so many diverse opinions that it becomes clear that reality, for these scientists, is really a matter of opinion, just like the rest of us.
To me it seems that good friends are people who are able to share your reality. They may not agree, but they are willing to "get inside your head" (not a neuroscientific term) and be there, in your reality, with you for awhile. Good authors are able to make friends of us all by giving us a chance to share some head space with them - which of course fools those of us known as "fans" (also not a neuroscientific term) into feeling that we do, indeed, know this person, and, having shared reality with them, they must be our friend too - right? Which is, unfortunately, not true, because really, they are carefully crafting a piece of their reality and presenting it to you - a worthy occupation and wonderful to experience, but not what good friends do with each other. When you are with someone you really get on with, you are passing bits of your reality back and forth between you with the minimum of crafting and editing, and this, this is why we sometimes get fits of the giggles: we are passing things back and forth too fast and they are spiralling out of control, and it's fun as hell.
In any case it's fun sharing my extremely weird bubble with you all. I sometimes get the giggles, anyway.
And thanks muchly to Mr. Neil Gaiman for his kind words on his blog Thursday. I only heard about it today, but was very pleased, having perused many of those carefully-crafted reality bits of his, myself.
...And welcome to those new readers who followed his link here!