Sunday, September 18, 2022

One more new English word



It is a true story that Paul McCartney dreamed of the tune for the classic Beatles' song Yesterday, and after waking found the song was there for the taking in real life, though he had to employ the temporary lyrics "Scrambled Eggs" until he could sort that part out. 

And so, perhaps in a less spectacular fashion, I dreamed of a new word: "Fictionist".

Instead of defining the word, I will first recount what I can of this dream. 

The dream itself was quite mild in event, but both inventive and clever in its process of coining a word. In the dream, I was with my wife. We were walking in town- I don't know what town- to no specific end. We were talking, and at some point, my wife made reference to how either our walk, or the things we were discussing, or both, probably both, were, of course, fictionist." 

As it was a dream, I knew what this word meant right away. And I woke up quite impressed with it, that though it was part of what seemed to me (being in the dream) part of a real-world conversation, it was accurate in what it newly described.

Fictionist means to be of, or part of a fictional reality, but particularly in that place pretending to be real while actually being fictional. So one could quote, say, Huck Finn as fictionistly saying "All right, then, I'll go to hell..." Huck Finn did actually say that, but he said it fictionistly.

And so too, when my wife said to me in a dream, which is a fictionist world (she did not in real life say "fictionist", but in the fictionist reality of my dream, she did indeed say it, and I believed then she said it), that our discussion and walk were fictionist, she was not only correct, but she was letting me know that I was dreaming, and did so in a very interesting way, with a new word.

You may inquire as to what the difference is between "fictional" and "fictionist" because it is an important distinction. Fictional is a classification from the outside, a description of something pretending, things that are "made up" or invented. Fictionist is from the inside, it is a distinction from simulation, so things that are pretending to be real, but are not. So all novels are fictional and, except perhaps for the most rigorously fourth wall breaking, fictionist. But when a novel tears one's heart out it is at its most fictionist. Dreams are almost entirely fictionist even if technically, perhaps, they are also fictions. This is why, perhaps, the word first chose to appear in a world it best described.

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