Writing is essentially an empirical enterprise; that is to say, it must involve some specifiable sort of relationship with events and circumstances which most people regard as "real."
That does not mean there is no fiction. It is the sort of relationship with real things which determines whether or not fiction is involved.
Fiction sets forth a depiction of possible events and personalities which could have "happened," but didn't.
Documentary writing depicts possible events and personalities which could have happened, and did, besides. So, by this yardstick, TRAVEL AGENT! is most assuredly a work of fiction. Not even the illustrious group of possible personalities described in the following pages could guarantee their real existence in the world on the basis of their "possibility" alone.1
The events and personalities described in the pages following here have for their distant basis the experiences of the author, Gil Markle. He is the "travel agent." However, the events and personalities are not all real. In fact, very few of them are. Most of them are concoctions, resembling real events and personalities only (and inevitably) to the extent the author has had only real events and personalities to work with, and to the extent that his powers of imagination are limited.
For the literary curators among us, the essays that follow here have been distilled from many pages of written notes The Pamphili Papers and The Tobago Papers composed during the sixties and seventies, and from computer diskettes of more recent vintage bearing the same titles. Our "travel agent" wrote these essays while on assignment, dealing with a variety of mundane problems and joys, and with his notepad (or his Model100 portable computer) never far away.
1 In this admission, we align ourselves with the detractors of the Ontological Proof for the Existence of God, who for lesser reason have argued for centuries that perfection-possible does not perfection-actual make.
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.