The Fiction Within the Facts

September 26, 2018

As much as I love writing fiction, I haven’t been wanting to write it lately. The idea of making things up doesn’t appeal to me as much as divulging the unvarnished truth. So, I’ve been working on a memoir project.  This, it should be noted, has its own complications. 

 

As I try to capture my past through the lens of creative nonfiction, I find myself wrestling with the truth.  Don’t get me wrong. I like excavating, which is what I consider memoir writing to be.  I dig up buried things – some treasures, others junk – dust it off, examine it, and attempt to figure out whether or not it has a place within my larger narrative.  But what I don’t enjoy are the moments when I realize that there are things about myself that, despite all the work I’ve done to change, remain fundamentally unchanged.

 

What the hell?  How can I still be making the same mistakes I made in my teens and twenties?  I’m thirty-five!  I should have learned my lessons.  And maybe I have.  I don’t know.  Memoir writing is certainly humbling (and, on occasion, humiliating).

 

One of the things that’s been helpful has been to look at old photographs.  I’ve become enthralled by a few pictures of myself as a child that I’ve cut out, collaged together, put in a frame and set on my desk.  Now, I can write with inner-child accompaniment.  It helps quiet the voice of self-judgment and, as a result, the stories are coming.  So many stories.  Memories that rise unbidden and demand to be captured on the page. 

 

I look forward to sharing them with you, just as the younger me has been sharing them with me.

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