fiction is fact
“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”
― Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
it’s been a while since i’ve written. a long while.
that being said, it’s difficult to know what to say. after taking long breaks from the written word, having retired my keyboard mainly to a mere one hundred and forty characters or the caption of a picture from time to time, fingers get stiff, imagination is in deep hibernation.
the only thing i want to do today is to say why. why i write. and why i say what i say when i do so. more or less, i want to present myself.
my mind is a very congested place. if it were a forest, it would be dense. if it were a closet, it would be cluttered. unfortunately, it’s not either of those things, because trees can be cut down and closets can be organized.
thankfully, though, i have this keyboard. writing is my axe. words are my goodwill pile.
i used to try to write all fiction. all new people, new places. nothing familiar, as an escape. not that i needed to, but just because i wanted to. but it didn’t solve the problem. my thoughts stayed piled up inside me, the congestion only increasing.
so i chose to write only reality. it was exhaustive. instead of feeling relieved, i felt drained, sucked dry. and i would show others, and they would give a simple, “oh.”
it’s like when you have a funny experience happen, or perhaps a scary one, and you go to tell a friend, expecting them to roar with laughter or get the tight feeling of panic in their chest that you had — and you finish and they say, “oh.”
why do humans exaggerate? for that purpose, specifically. we wish to connect, but how can we even begin to share experiences with people that weren’t present? how can they care if they can’t feel what we are feeling? so we embellish. we add a detail here and there, an extra dose of something to create the same feeling. but once you finish the new story, doesn’t it seem more real than the actual event? doesn’t it become part of your memory, until you can’t remember which parts were embellished? and why? well, because it made you feel. and feeling is what makes the human experience real.
this is how i write. fiction is too one-dimensional. reality is too engulfing.
but fiction as fact. a blissful and balanced matrimony of things imaginary and tangible.
i personally believe that writing is only good it if makes you feel something. i’ve noticed that the books i’ve read lately that make me feel are those that use fiction as fact. those that blur the line between what is real and what is imagined.
painters don’t paint what they see. they paint what they feel. they change colors, add objects and figures to create the emotions they desire. writers are the same; we attempt to make others feel by changing, by imagining.
i don’t believe i’ll ever write anything that is completely accurate. when you read, please don’t wonder if it is real. what happens probably wasn’t real, but what you feel was. at least i shall try to do so. because i need to declutter my closet and i need to make space for new trees.