My daughter came home from kindergarten earlier this week to tell me she had learned the difference between fiction and nonfiction in the school library.
“Really? What’s the difference?”
Her answer was a hodgepodge of Lithuanian and English, as it tested the limits of her vocabulary in both languages. I’m paraphrasing it:
“Dad! Fiction would be like this. Look at this tube.” She showed me my wife’s skin cream. “Look. If it’s fiction then you say, Okay, there’s an elephant, and he lives inside here with Strawberry Shortcake and all the Little Ponies and they fly and get their candy and cakes from the bakery, a good one that never closes and where you can have anything you want, but you don’t need to bring money. And then, outside, you can have an umbrella and sunshine and shower sprinkles and a hot air balloon all together at the same time, and you can sleep if you want to, but only if you want to. If it’s fiction, you don’t need to sleep. And you can make anything you want, and you can put it anywhere. Everything fits inside everything and you can always have a place for anything no matter what it is. Everything’s together. It can all be inside the tube and outside the tube and everywhere all the time.”
“That’s quite correct,” I said. “But what about nonfiction.”
“Well, nonfiction.” She shrugged. “It’s a tube. With skin cream. That’s all. It’s just real..”