Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In the Act of Truth-telling

A few days ago, my sister-in-law, Cynthia, called with a question. She wanted to write a memory piece to post on the Facebook page for Sunnyrock Farm in Walpole, MA. Cynthia, Steve and Keith grew up next door to the farm, playing and working there as if it was an natural extension of home, so there are many memories to write about. Buy Cyn had a problem. There was a specific story she wanted to tell and party-pooper Steve had convinced her that it didn't happen the way she remembered. Her question for me was, what to do?

Easy, I said, you say "This is what I remember" and tell your story. If you feel compelled to go another step in the direction of truthiness, you say, "others may remember it differently."

My wonderful boss, Lillian Lehman, used to say that if a story is worth telling, it's work improving upon.

That's why I write fiction, I suppose. But don't suggest to me that fiction isn't about truth. Reading and writing fiction are my avenues to the truth. That's why Cyn should write her story as she remembers it--with a tiny disclaimer. It's okay.


  1. Nora, I love your answer! "As I remember" is the perfect way to convey her story. Allows her to own her voice and tell it like it is. For her.
    I also have to add that it rattles me when someone says they only read non-fiction because fiction isn't true. Excuse me? You mean everything that isn't labled fiction is TRUE? And what could be more true than human beings in all our glorious foibles? Thanks for letting me get that out.

  2. "These stories are as I remember. You may remember a bit differently, and that’s fine too."
    How does this sound? Thank you Nora, and Dorette!