Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Truth in Fact and Fiction

My current read, I Love You More Than You Know, is a collection of essays by Jonathan Ames. He's very funny, albeit ragingly inappropriate (read: not for the prudish among us). The front cover calls him "genuine, daring, and unabashed" and compares him to David Sedaris.

I love when writers write about writing because it's super easy to relate to. In his essay titled "Self-Sentenced: My Life as a Writer the Last Few Years," I was tickled to see his writerly role models resemble mine, even down to the order--Kerouac followed by Hemingway and Fitzgerald. He equates this to alcoholism and self-destruction...I'd like to think I cling to the less destructive parts of these writers, but I do enjoy my sweet red wine when I'm writing.

Later in the essay he discusses his parents' reactions to his work. First they hate it, but after a family therapy session they come to accept it. He says, "I guess my parents know that life is short and they might as well get a kick out of things. I also think they're not really listening to me." This I haven't had to deal with, since Mom and Dad have been fans of what I've written (so far). No, but seriously, compared to Mr. Ames they don't really have much to worry about with me.

That being said, I have to admire his honesty/disregard for embarrassment. I have such a thick filter--speaking or writing, unless it's my journal--I don't know if I could ever write stories of his caliber, even if I had such wild tales to tell. Enter fictional writing: a way to tell wild tales that may or may not have actually happened in some way, shape, or form to me or someone else I may or may not personally know. It's nice to have that ability to put lots of layers between myself as writer and the events surrounding my characters. I can write about semi-true events without letting little "T" truth get in the way of big "T" Truth.

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