“Where is Truth?” I Ask You

The impossibility of producing a truthful account of  any event, however uncomplicated it might seem, I tried to show in “Who is Writing This?” and “A Not Not-True Blog of a Short, Simple Morning.” Every piece of writing, fiction or non-, requires the creation of a speaker, who may (or may not) share certain characteristics in common with the writer, for example a name, a gender, a context. Nevertheless, this speaker is not the writer. Make no mistake. Even the most honest speaker must necessarily present themselves more simplify or preface every utterance with a story as long as their lives.

Even if this were possible, the autobiographical portion alone, which would supposedly defictionalize the speaker before any true statement could be made, would necessarily be told from a certain perspective, with a certain agenda. No two people ever tell the same version of any event, however simple (unless they have picked up certain phrases and ways of telling a story from each other, which often happens). Even if we could produce a text from here to Jupiter, which recorded every detail of every event that happened in our lives with every person, place and thing from ten thousand perspectives, it would not be true, in the sense of “This is what happened,” because it would not be what happened. It would not be what happened, but a recreation of it in code, inert code, without life or meaning until it is picked up and then, dear reader, oh then . . .

A different story altogether is told as the reader reinterprets the letters on the page. Readers pick up the inert code and “play it” in their brains, in glorious technicolor imagination! And nothing, I promise you,  nothing will look like it did when it first happened.

It is fiction. All of it.

Fiction, at least, admits up front that it isn’t true. (Though it often pretends to be true and we love that too). Non-fiction, which lies, doesn’t even know what to call itself except, “I am not that which is not true.” Sometimes we want to know the truth directly, goddamit! But we can’t know the truth without using words, without talking about something or thinking about it, and we can’t talk or think without creating a speaker, without a particular perspective, without an agenda. We can’t tell a story without lying. (Try it and see!)

Unless.

Unless that fiction is metafiction. The fiction that admits that it is fiction. Then, oh then, it is true! The truest story is the story that lays its own self bare and says, “Look at me! I am a cheat and a liar. This is what I am and I have a story to tell and the story is about you and the story goes that you are a story, a fiction, a cheat and a liar, and yet somehow magic happens and we share a dream, not the same one, but one a parallel one and those dreams can shape our world. For everything, everything, religion, music, art, science, philosophy, manga, porn, fanfics, blogs, and text messages are all stories we tell ourselves. And the story goes something like this….

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