|Antioch's main building.|
|The Smithsonian "Castle"|
Why do we choose the things we choose for inclusion in our historical institutions and narratives?
I was much happier when I stopped trying to be a history student and switched over to literature. Literature, stories, myths, fiction, all felt SO much more true to me. Fiction knows it’s fiction and good fiction, great fiction, is fiction that feels true, emotionally, psychologically, and visually.
Which is maybe why I can’t seem to bring myself to care about whether or not a non-fiction book is totally factual. I don’t think any book can be totally factual, especially not one that is told by a person about their own experience. They’re all stories, stories that are constructed by people to be told to other people. What’s left out, the way things are worded and recalled, is all strung together to create a certain effect.
My senior year of college, the year I took my first writing workshop, was the year of the James Frey hoopla. Andrew and I talked about this the other night and he thinks it was a big deal because Frey had been successful and people like to get mad if someone gained their success in dishonest ways. Oprah’s outrage was shocking to me. What he wrote about may’ve not been totally true for him, but it was probably true to human experience. I just don’t get it.
Which is probably why it’s a good thing I’m a fiction writer.