Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fact checker: eggs boiled or fried

The recent debate, floating here to Australia from America over the need for truth in non-fiction, has me riled all over again.

It is as if there is a desperate wish to turn non fiction into absolute truth, as in reportage, when even reportage has its own bias and slant,however many so-called facts are presented. While fiction, however much invented or imagined, can also be based on fact.

For me the one ray of sanity comes from Anders Monson who argues against this tendency towards binaries, and supports the notion that when we read anything, including journalism and especially non-fiction, as when we read fiction, we need to suspend disbelief.

The very fact of writing - whether non fiction or fiction and all shades in between - distorts the so-called facts.

To me it’s a tedious debate and yet it stirs up such passions.

From now on, I tell myself, I will refer to my writing as ‘autobiographical fiction’ and that way I cannot be accused of making things up, of telling lies or of deceiving my reader.

For those who do not know, a non-fiction writer and academic, John D’Agata has written a book, The lifespan of a fact, as a dialogue between a non-fiction writer, in the guise of John the author himself, and his fact checker - to me his alter ego - Jim Fingal.

Both men battle it out, and to some extent both look ridiculous. John, in his cavalier disregard for the truth, and Jim, in his obsessive compulsive tendency to insist on 'all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'.

I find myself remembering a time as a child when I went with my younger sister and oldest brother to stay at an aunt’s house in Rosanna. For some reason we stayed overnight.

My aunt remonstrated with my sister because she had refused to eat her egg at dinner. I knew my sister hated eggs. All her short life my sister had hated eggs. No one ever forced my sister to eat eggs. In fact, we sometimes fought over who might get to eat her egg in her place.

We only ate eggs once a week on Sundays as a treat. I refused to boil or fry mine. I preferred to separate the yolk from the white, and then whip up the white with a fork for what seemed like hours. Gradually, I added sugar and ate the whole concoction once it had stiffened into mountainous peaks.

My brothers usually managed to get my sister’s egg, but I liked to imagine how good it would be were I to enjoy the whites of two eggs whipped up to meringue type consistency, and not just one.

That night at my aunty’s house after my sister pushed her egg away, my aunty forced it into her.
‘A big girl like you not eating your egg’.

In the shower this morning as I refected on this memory, the fact checker popped into my mind. ‘Describe the egg,’ my internal fact checker said. Was it boiled – soft or hard – or was it fried?

Oh dear, my memory lets me down. I cannot remember. To take up either position, egg boiled or fried, is to invent.

Fortunately, it is an inconsequential memory, though Jim Fingal, the fact checker in D’Agata’s book would most likely want to ring my sister for verification. And my sister in all likelihood would not remember this event.

In my memory we have never discussed this incident since that time. It has lain in my mind as a slightly tragic moment, one of those difficult events from childhood when I watched the betrayal of my younger sister and did not manage to help her escape the wrath of my aunt.

A young me, looking for evidence?

That same night we slept on camp beds, which my aunt had made up in her lounge room. My sister and I lay in these beds side by side. My brother must have gone elsewhere because he was not there in my memory when I woke in the night to the cold damp realisation that I had wet the bed.

I told no one. I hid the evidence under the blankets, dragged up over the sodden sheets in the morning, and that’s where the evidence remained, hidden from view.

Presumably, my aunt or someone else found the bed wet when they stripped it, but not a word was said, as far as I know.

How can we know the truth of this experience? I trust my memory but there are so many gaps.

If I were to write this passage into a story, my imagination would kick in. My memory might then borrow from other events and times in my life to help me to furnish this house, and also to account for the absence of my aunt’s several other children.

In my memory, only my sister and I sat at the dinner table. In my memory, my brother ate later with the grown ups.

But this aunt had six children, all of them slightly younger than me. Where were they? They must have been there but I cannot picture them, only my sister and her force fed egg and the camp bed with its yellow stain and the sour smell of fresh urine that by morning had turned stale. They are all that remain. Unless I turn the anecdote into a story and to do so I must embellish.

But from now on I shall call it 'autobiographical fiction' to avoid the wrath of the thought police.

My thanks to Dinty W Moore from Brevity's Non-fiction Blog for alerting me to this. Let her have the final say. Scroll back to read about this saga. It's fascinating, however much it might cause me at times to boil over.


Yvonne Osborne said...

A very interesting, thoughtful post. Memory is a fascinating subject. How much of memory is invented? How closely intertwined are imagination and memory? Just an aside, I had a horrible dream the other night in which I'd wet the bed. I awoke to find I'd nearly done it for real. Wierd. Nothing is truer than fiction, I've been told and believe it to be so.

ellen abbott said...

Memory is a funny thing. And we do not all remember the same events the same way. Three people witnessing the same event will give three different descriptions of it. Which is true? They all are. All different and yet all true. Total truth in non-fiction is a ridiculous endeavor, as if you could get all three to completely agree or be only able to write with certainty about the few elements they do agree on. If your sister did remember the incident she would no doubt remember it differently. That would not make your memory untrue. And any story you wrote about it would be true even if you did fill in some parts. It would not make the essence of the story untrue. Non-fiction is not journalism where every thing must be fact-checked.

Anthony Duce said...

I guess I’m more interested in the story than I am for just sticking to the facts these days. as long as the basic line of truth flows through, I want have some connection with the author, some feelings expressed too. You do this very well.

Juliet said...

I like the sound of 'autobiographical fiction'. As a writer I like to stay true to the essence when I'm writing memoir. My older sister told me off because I'd put the chemist shop on the wrong side of the street. (Actually, she was wrong - I went back and checked) - but even if she was right, the important thing about the chemist shop was the impression it made on me and not its location.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Though history is generally regarded as non-fiction, I believe that many authors have taken quite literary license and over-enumerated facts in the desire to retell a compelling story.

My father-in-law had been working for a couple of decades on a book about the foods of Lewis and Clark during their expedition discovering the US West at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. In his research he had occasion to read many other books about Lewis and Clark, many of which contained fanciful descriptions of the role of Indian woman, Sacajawea, in the expedition. Popular culture has it now that Sacajawea was "guide" and pulled off many incredible tasks during the expedition. The actual journals of the pair, however, have Sacajawea filling a more subdued and mundane role.

My father-in-law in his text book gets quite upset when he reads these other "historical" accounts which embellish the Indian woman with almost saintly like accomplishments. Non-fiction indeed.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

This week we watched an episode of Survivor wherein a contestant had to be medevac'd for acute appendicitis. I remembered my older brother had his appendix out when we were kids. How old was he? I don't remember. Ten? Eleven? I remember him feeling a pain in his side when we were out hiking with Mother. The pain made him limp. Mother suspected appendicitis. He had his appendix removed. I remember visiting him in the hospital. I always wondered if he really needed that appendix out or if the doctors removed it out of an abundance of caution.

David & I have talked about our differing memories of our shared childhood. He claims not to remember much. I remember quite a bit. Mostly, when I talk about things I remember he shrugs and claims a blank.

Christine said...

I have been reviewing a book a biography in which the author spends quite a lot of pages remarking on the different tellings of the same story; how the protaganist changes his/her story over time ( der!!!) and generally wanting to check the story against archival facts. I have put it on hold partly because I am so irritated with it. Isn't truth, the absolute, ultimate truth ineffable and unknowable.... really?

Anonymous said...

My husband and I constantly correct each other about 'facts' these days. Years earlier I would always defer to his more analytical recall of conversations and events but recently the tables seem to have turned.
At times when he is in the middle of a conversation to a third person, I cannot be bothered nitpicking over the details, even though I am extremely frustrated that he has them wrong. Sometimes the details matter, sometimes they don't and why does a third person really need precision about something to do with our personal past?
I have also realised that what is documented as fact may not actually be the truth. I have found telling errors in official documents about my own family that lead me to think if I was ever to write a history it would have to be, similar to your description, fictional biography - based on . . . something like the truth.
Karen C

River said...

I also remember things differently to my brother and sister, and my parents also. I remember living in places where my mum says we've never been, I remember starting grade three with a family and finishing it with only dad and me, yet my sister remembers still being there until fifth grade. I clearly remember her and my brother coming home to stay with us again when I was in grade six.
who is right? Who is wrong? She will fight for her memories to be the right ones, while I don't care anymore.

I think your aunty was very mean to force the egg on your sister and the way you eat egg whites brings back memories od my dad doing exactly the same thing and sharing the meringue with us. Sometimes he would flavour it with coffee powder or cocoa.

Jim Murdoch said...

We have covered this ground before, you and I, and I have little to add. I was bought up hearing the word ‘truth’ on a daily basis. It was the star that I sailed my ship by and, to this day, I’m not a very convincing liar; I prefer to lie by process of omission but even then I’m not that good at it. I had a row with one of my last bosses because he often wanted me to take an elastic view of the truth and I objected. If you can’t do something then fess up. Your customers may not like it but in my experience they prefer honesty especially when they’re running their own business and have customers to answer to.

A few nights ago I got into bed and then, a couple of minutes later, had to get up and write down the following: “I’ve never really got memoirists—is that the right word?—people with their heads stuck up their own pasts.” Not sure what I’m going to do with it but I expect it’ll go in my next novel which looks as if it’s going to be all about a failing memory. There is a side of me that gets annoyed by your reminiscences but when I step back from that annoyance what I realise is that I’m more than a little jealous because I don’t have an endless stream of anecdotes about my life to draw on. I simply don’t dwell on the what’s gone and so when I do need to pull something up from the dim and distant past it’s no wonder it’s blurry.

I’m not sure I would go with ‘autobiographical fiction’ to describe what you do because that suggests, to me anyway, that what we’re being presented with is primarily fiction but based on real events whereas what you’re actually dishing up is misremembered autobiography although I would contend that all autobiography is misremembered. Perhaps ‘enhanced autobiography’ would be better; we enhance photos so why not real life?

I don’t agree with the idiom that God is in the details. It doesn’t matter if the eggs were fried, coddled, scrambled, hard boiled or poached. The most famous trigger for memories is Proust’s Madeleine but if you research the matter you’ll find that in reality it was a piece of soggy toast that was the inspiration for that scene. What was the trigger is irrelevant—in Murnane’s case it was sardines if you remember—the truth is bigger than that.

jabblog said...

The complete, unalterable truth, were we ever to discover it, would be so unutterably boring that it wouldn't be worth reading. Every tiny unimportant detail would have to be recorded and the resultant prose would be turgid in the extreme. Our truth is our own truth, different to other people's, told from a personal perspective.

MedicatedMoo said...

It's funny what sticks in the memory - the hassle over a single egg, yet six kids somehow not emerging from the mists of time.

I suspect too, that a lot of what I *think* I recall from very early life is merely what I've been told by older people or my parents or what was viewed in photo albums. I guess all our recollections are autobiographical, well, if not fiction, then embellishment or flavourings.

Kirk said...

To me, this all depends on the idea that the non-fiction writer is trying to convey. If a writer is trying to convince me Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, it doesn't matter if the first words spoken in it are "Come here, Watson, I need you," or "I need you, Watson, come here". I get the general idea. Now, if that same writer is also trying to covince me that Bell invented the electric light, that Thomas Edison stole the blueprints, ran down to the patent office, and took credit for it himself, then I damn well want the facts to check out, and then some.

I read a review of Agata's book a week or so ago. According to the review (remember, I haven't read the actual book) one of his excuses for making things up is that the absolute truth doesn't always lend itself to good prose. Could it be that he's just not that clever of a writer?

who said...

You don't have to change the genre label Elisabeth. Most people would accept your telling of any of your experiences as how you experienced it. I think the only time people get upset is when there is an intentional act of deceiving another is when people get miffed. It's only important when it's important. It not like you made a supposed documentary of people from an online bulletin board, a classified offerings list, and claimed everyone in the film was found on said list but what you really meant was a bogus documentary with fictional stories and actors responded via the classified list.

But honestly, I am not sure what exactly are the thoughts you are trying to share with your reader. Because there are certainly times when the goal is communication and you only wish to share a few thoughts. And this is a great start, so if you would why don't you continue one about the parts that don't rely on someone else and their perspective? and this way nobody can get mad at you for betraying or forcing of any acts or arguing or what nots.

So starting from only being responsible for you and your thoughts, could you please elaborate in the next four or five posts, sharing every thoughts and each emotions, every minute detail of every water droplet that splashed upon your skin while you were replaying a video in your mind about being on the table.

I am interested in the psychology of being able to re-experience the actual event through your replaying the sequence of events in the shower. Would it be possible for a person to share the same feelings and experience that happened that day, through words of so that the reader would know exactly how it felt, but in the context of you alone in the shower?

It seems impossible, but if your imagination is vivid enough, and your vocabulary wild enough, and your hot water heater endless enough, I would think if you practiced the act and the reporting of it, you could...I lost my train of thought.

Andrew said...

It is only fairly recently that I have come to realise that my memory of childhood is not always accurate. Other people's memories are mine and things I have read have become my memories. Does it matter? I am sure it would to an oral historian.

Isabel Doyle said...

There is no such thing as 'truth' as an absolute, and very little in the way of fact.

Interesting post Elisabeth.

R.H. said...

Autobiography is fiction? Memory no good? Guess I should give up writing about myself

R.H. said...

Mind you, I like Kirk's final paragraph. Some of the Who as well.

Murr Brewster said...

I have never known two people to recall the same event the same way--not even close. My friends tell me stories that don't seem familiar, even if I'm starring in them. I remember my humiliations distinctly (they were rare), but can't rely on my memory to supply any facts at all, and can't figure out if I'm remembering something told to me, something I made up, or something I concocted from a photograph. When I write, I aim for some kind of truth, but it might not satisfy a journalist.

Elisabeth said...

I've heard it said, Yvonne, that sometimes the truth is less plausible than the fiction. Certainly sometimes the truth- so called - is much harder to swallow. There are so many things we'd rather not know about.

I've had dreams like that too, though not recently, thank goodness.

Thanks, Yvonne.

R.H. said...

If several people witness a car crash they might recall it in different ways but the car crash is a FACT.

Okay, well maybe I never did time in the can, maybe I went to university instead and got a degree, I'll have to hunt around for it but I tell you I'll be mighty upset if I find one because I've done menial work all my life. And right from childhood I remembered my mother trying to get into the house by chopping down the back door with an axe. Government documents I've obtained confirm this happening but maybe they're mistaken too. Maybe I'm not even who I think I am. Maybe I was raised in America by Richard Nixon. Maybe I'm IN LINE FOR THE BRITISH THRONE!!!

Really, I get irritated with silly discussions like this. What twaddle. What a waste of words, an insult to autobiography. And to anyone wanting to purge their past by writing about it. Memories can be faulty but never for the big things. They don't get invented, except by crooks. For everyone else, authors and readers, autobiographical writing is probably the most useful there is.

Elisabeth said...

I agree, Ellen that non fiction need not be seen as journalism. I listened to the 'retraction' episode on This American Life, you may have heard of it. I was appalled by the way they 'crucified - is that too strong a word? - Michael Daisey.

I almost distrust the program more now than I do the episode in which Michael Daisey told all those so-called 'lies'. They were not actual, factual truths clearly but they had meaning and they resonated with Daisey's experience. As he himself said, his mistake was to go on the programme.

I should be careful what I say here. It's such a contentious issue.

Thanks, Ellen.

Elisabeth said...

I'm all for the emotional 'truth' of experience, Anthony. they rise up well beyond absolute facts.

Besides in many ways when it comes to incidents and experience, there is no such thing as absolute truth, only different perceptions.

Thanks, Anthony.

Elisabeth said...

I'm glad you like the ring of the words: 'autobiographical fiction', Juliet.

It's a wonderful contradiction in some people's minds, but not in mine. Nor in ours by the sound of things.

Thanks, Juliet.

Elisabeth said...

You are right of course, Robert, there are many people who have played around too much with the so called facts of history but again it all depends on where you're coming from.

My oldest brother and I might have very different views on our family history, in part because he prefers the bald facts that are written in records. They say something but to me not enough.

I'm interested in deeper experiences that can be conveyed orally through word of mouth but have not been written down. They may be biased of course but so might the written version.

It often comes down to the question: whose truth?

Thanks, Robert.

Elisabeth said...

In my family of nine, Glenn, there are probably at least nine different versions of life in my family of origin. That's the way it goes, almost as if we each had a different set of parents.

Thanks, Glenn.

Elisabeth said...

Your biographer, Christine, reminds me of the tradesman who comes to visit to repair something in your house, who then spends a great deal of unnecessary time telling you what his predecessor did wrong.

It seems so unhelpful in the long run. We all tend to build on or contradict each other's versions of events, and it can, as you suggest, become tedious.

Thanks, Christine.

Elisabeth said...

Maybe it's a function of getting older, Karen, but I too find myself occasionally wanting to correct my husband over so-called facts from time to time. Fortunately, not too often.

I also try to wear a measure of discrepancy in our shared stories simply because of what I've been arguing here, that different perceptions form their own truthfulness. they might seem to contradict one another, but maybe they can still stand side by side.

Thanks, Karen.

Mim said...

Why not use the word "memoir," since memory is never exact?

Mim said...

Why not use the word "memoir," since memory is never exact?

Phoenix said...

I am always more than a little amused at people who insist on getting so specific about fact vs fiction in non-fiction novels. Even the best experiences, true or not, have an element of story-telling to them. Do I even want to read a book where there is no creative element, no narrative structure that plays up the elements of story-telling? Not really. It would be the most boring book in the history of time.

I think people yearn for the truth in non-fiction because they think the "non-fiction" stamp is a guarantee of authenticity, perhaps not found elsewhere. I can watch the evening news and know, without a doubt, that facts are being construed and slanted to tell a story, and that level of journalism saddens me. Perhaps if I were angrier about that, I would look to non-fiction as some iron clad proof that somewhere in the world are printed stories that happened just as they are described, and find comfort in that. But the fact of the matter is, I do not need non-fiction to be 100% fact. I am not a fundamentalist that takes every word for gospel truth. I am a storyteller myself who realizes that the way we relate to each other is through stories, some of them true, some of them not, most a mixture of both. I can decipher metaphor and the deeper meaning behind an anecdote and not worry about whether or not it was true. I can enjoy stories for the sake of stories. If I wanted facts, I'd read the Encyclopedia.

Elisabeth said...

From my memory my aunt was mean, River, to force that egg on my sister, but since then I have come to see this aunt in a completely different light.

She's still alive in her mid eighties and seems quite a lovely woman, not one who would force an egg on a child. I still believe she did it, but who knows how I might have looked at it wearing different shoes.

Your wonderful comment here reflects how differently we all remember. To my mind everyone's memory holds a kernel of truth and we're all entitled to our memories, however fanciful they might seem to others, as long as we don't turn then into gospel truths.

Thanks, River.

Elisabeth said...

I feel annoyed with myself, too, Jim, sometimes when my memories insist on creeping into my writing, almost relentlessly, and I'm not here talking only about memories from the far distant past, I'm talking here about memories for recent events, yesterday, last week, whatever it is that impinges on me for some time and won't go away, at least not until I've written about it, and then it seems to settle.

On the other hand, I would feel bereft without my memories and especially those from my childhood. They are so much a part of who I am.

The other night I listened to that radio programme, the one called the 'Retraction Episode' on This American life. You may know the story. If not, see:

I listened with my husband, and although he too objected to Ira Glass's insistence on calling Mike Daisey a liar, and could sense the pleasure Glass seemed to derive-despite his protests at being distressed - from the humiliation he meted out to Daisey for embellishing the story with so-called falsehoods, my husband could also see their point about facts and truthfulness more clearly than I could.

It was a mistake to put a piece designed for theatre onto a journalistic show. Too true, and much of this then becomes a issue of genre rather than of truth.

Anyhow, I could go on forever about this, and as you say, we've travelled this ground before. No doubt we'll revisit it again, your blog title being what it is and my preoccupations being what they are.

Thanks, Jim.

Elisabeth said...

I agree, Janice. The truth would not only be unutterably boring, it would also have to involve a complete repetition of everything that has gone on to date. No doubt impossible but the only way to get an absolute an accurate record of the so-called truth. And yet some seem to crave it.

Thanks, Janice.

Elisabeth said...

You're right, Kath, it is funny how some things seemingly insignificant stick in our memories, while other events, much more monumental in significance can fade from view.

And much of what we 'remember' has been put into our memories by others who have come before us, and maybe even at times pushed out of our memories in like fashion. 'That's not the way it was,' someone might say and we might then obediently eradicate said memory from our memory banks.

Isn't that what happens with propaganda? The human mind can be pliable.

Thanks, Kath. I hope your family gets better soon.

Elisabeth said...

I think I'm on D'Agata's side, Kirk, and I too have not yet read his book.

To me it's not simply a matter of being a good writer. Writing is an art and a craft but it also has something to it that is germane to the process of getting it onto the page. This differs for different writers.

And there may be times when someone else's insistence on certain so-called facts can interfere with the emotional impact of the writing.

I agree with you though that facts matter more in certain instances such as the one you described.

My only caveat is that in introducing those facts, whichever writer presents them to us, he/she is going to offer his/her own bias and that will also colour said facts.

Thanks, Kirk.

Elisabeth said...

Oral historians explore these ideas, Andrew. They also recognise how much stories can change over time and within certain cultures. It's a fascinating process.

Thanks, Andrew.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Not being able to remember precise facts kept me from things I wanted to write, knowing parts would have to be invented, feeling somehow that the fabrication would be discovered and judged. And then one day that left, never to return. What can it possibly matter to a reader, to anyone, the name of the highway with the gas station that had a raccoon chained up (and not a short chain) in the restroom? Or how many children sat at the table during the egg episode? Is this why they started calling certain works "creative non-fiction?" We are not recounting our assignment investigating human trafficking or pretending we exposed the Watergate scandal. We are trying to make sense of our lives, taking risks by doing so in public. I agree completely with your decision. xo

R.H. said...

If you can't stick to the facts and make them interesting, if you're unsure what the facts are, give up autobiography. Give up writing.
Try something else.

Watercolours maybe.


Elisabeth said...

Thanks, Isabel, however interesting these ideas may or my not be, they certainly attract their fair share of controversy. Thanks.

Elisabeth said...

Sorry to take so long to respond here, RH.

Controversial is the word I offer you here. These issues are under contention and there are many people who struggle with them.

I suppose I take the line of uncertainly and doubt, Robert, because I think it's the most honest line for me, but I recognise that there are many others who reckon it's simple and straightforward, black or white. I'm afraid I cannot think like that.

Thanks for your multiple comments, Robert.

Elisabeth said...

There's surely a difference between a need for so-called factual truth and proof in reportage as in what goes into newspaper accounts of events, Murr, however biased they might be.

There are facts, but it's amazing how facts can change in different contexts or when presented in different words.

When I studied non-fiction writing many moons ago, as an academic subject, we were given the task of comparing the same story as reported in several of our local newspapers, the left leaning ones and the right leaning and the ones in between.

To me, it was amazing how different those same facts read when conveyed in the different formats. Even the decision as to whether a story warrants front page or back page can influence our interoperation of the story.

Thanks, Murr.

Elisabeth said...

For some even the word 'memoir' connotes factual exactitude, Mim, but yours is a good idea. Memoir as writing based on memory.

If only people would recognise how flawed our memories are but for all of that how essential they are, too. Those who lose their memories suffer dreadfully, or at least those around them, those who love them, can suffer.

Thanks, Mim.

Elisabeth said...

Your thoughts here really resonate for me, Tracy. The significance of storytelling as a vehicle for metaphor and symbolism that enables broader deeper truths to be explored and discussed, goes without saying .

And yet there's this longing for factual accuracy, as if, as you suggest, people then can believe it really happened - like that - or it did not.

There's not much room for nuance or ambivalence or multiple and mixed perspectives in the absolutist view.

I'm glad you at least do not need a 100% accuracy clause.

Thanks, Tracy.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

That is so interesting, Elisabeth – the line between what's 'fact' and what's 'fiction.' Sometimes I think we worry too much about it. I'm in the midst of writing a novel but it is so based on events and memories of my own life that I feel guilty calling it fiction. Still, it's definitely not factual. Well, you know what? Who cares, right? It's just a story! I'm sure all the best fiction is based in some sort of non-fiction.
I work in the newspaper business and I can say it's important to "get the facts" as best as one can while reporting the news - people get a little agernoid when you make stuff up!
Your post is well thought out and makes some interesting, relevant points. I'm so glad you found mine, leading me to yours.
Consider yourself followed!

erin said...

i'm less concerned with titling something appropriately and more concerned and preoccupied with value. an egg once a week and such tender formulated care. if only, if only. now we've eggs by the dozen and who remembers anything at all? it's a wonder the debate exists inside of all of this superfluous modern living! (my god, i sound 105!)


Elisabeth said...

It's terrific to see you here, Cathy. 'Agernoid' - or should it read agrenoid? - is a great word to describe how some people get when their love of facts is challenged.

I agree we perhaps worry too much about this divide between fact and fiction but equally if we did not worry about it at all there might be other issues to deal with-living in a world without any bench marks. But as long as can moderate our vies on what's true and whose truth and in what context, at what time, and for what motives I reckon we'll be okay.

Thanks, Cathy

Elisabeth said...

You don't sound 105 to me, erin. On the contrary, to me these are the thoughts of one whose mind is agile and young enough to value quality in life and in knowledge: the poetry of words. Thanks, erin.

Elisabeth said...

I agree Marylinn. We are taking risks here in trying to write about our lives in all their complexities and obscurities. Facts count but not as much perhaps as authenticity. You can have facts without authenticity.

Thanks, Marylinn.

Kass said...

getting to the truth

as if our lives depended on it


and exhausting

Elisabeth said...

It is exhausting - this constant seeking after truth, Kass, as you suggest, whether it's real or emotional.