Wednesday, February 08, 2006

And the sound of hounds...

I object to the cult of realism; the cult of memoir, of autobiography, and of fact. I object to the lifting of writing to a higher plane only because it is "true." Why are people so obsessed with non-fiction? "Well, it actually happened and that is more interesting than something someone made up." Yes, but every story, no matter how true, is made up. It is changed by the words that are used, the way things are described. Non-fiction can never be truly non-fiction becuase someone had to write it in some way; had to choose between the endless possibilities for telling the story--and that is what it ends up as--a story. Additionally, consider that none of this happened to you. You are reading a book either way. Fiction or Non: in the end they are just the same. Words on a page. I see little difference between the two, except the non-fiction writer got a jump start on the plot. So perhaps this brings me to my claim: non-fiction writers are lazy (Fred B. excepted, I know he just makes all that stuff up. Like anyone has ever climbed a mountain.) You aren't holding up your end of the bargain. I ask you to think up something I've never thought before and express it in a way that I couldn't have expressed myself. That is all that I want. Consider: we cheer Frank Abagnale because he is getting one over on the MAN and we WITH him. We jeer James Frey because he got one over on us and we are AGAINST him. My message: we need to learn to love being fooled.

This isn't to say that Mr. Frey doesn't have to take his lumps. The fraud, when caught, must pay--otherwise fraud isn't fraud anymore--but he does it for us, to protect us from ourselves. Thank you Mr. Frey.

Haven't you read Light While There is Light? Don't you love Araki Yasusada?

Hooray for lies.

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