I always find it wildly malfeasant and mindlessly entertaining when the mainstream press gets involved in “outing” a book that promises non-fiction — but turns out to be invented or reality-inspired fiction.
Oprah bagged James Frey on her television show after it was revealed his book was not all “true” — and now the author of a gangland story is being “outed” for fakery on the page.
I argue everything and nothing are true or real.
The mere act of placing words on a page, in a certain context, and using a precise structure, changes the truth of the moments they are reflexing.
Real time and truthfulness are fleeting and anticipatory fictions that can never be based in fact or bathed in the beauty of confirmed perception.
If memory seeps, and if stories change in the procedural chain of constructing a story, how can reality ever be claimed or the truth divined?
Taking an oath in court is always a fascinating conundrum when one is required to swear to “Tell the truth” — because as we know as cogent beings, the truth isn’t one thing; the truth is malleable, and the truth is built in multiple experiences. Vowing to “Tell the truth” becomes, by its very expectation, a promise to lie.
I love to wonder on the day when a court witness refuses to swear to — “Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” — because that denial is the only possible truthful statement that can be promised without breaking.
As well, I enjoy watching a witness asking the court for the definition of “truth” in context before the swearing-in.
When a reader picks up a book — any book — there is a bending of reality that is inferred and accepted in the communication dyad between author and reader, and that sacred covenant is never one of truth-telling, but rather one an unfolding revelation of experiences in an imaginative and necessarily mythical context of the mind where facts are made into lies and deception lives in truths.