Just pondering the concept of truth today. Don't know why really. Maybe I've been reading too many newspaper articles on the presidential election. Or I listened to my daughter and her cousin blame each other for everything that fell over this evening. Just got me thinking about truth.

You know, they always say there are two sides to every story. When I think about that it's actually wrong. There are three sides of every story--yours, mine and the truth. No matter how much we try to hold onto veracity, I think we all do some judicious editing. Think about your own childhood. Have you ever caught yourself thinking about, kids these days? (Cue the Broadway song in the background!) When you were their age? How many of our parents traveled uphill, both ways, to school in the snow? Our own childhoods have that gilded look. I think back to all the years at the lake house and it brings a nostalgic smile to my face. It was so great, wasn't it? I only have to look in the journal I kept during those years to remind myself that it was often lonely and heartbreaking as well. I wouldn't trade any of those memories, even the hard ones, for all the money in Fort Knox, but it's so much nicer remembering the misty edged scenes from my youth instead.

Truth changes as we grow older as well. I think it becomes easier, but then again I've always been one of those brutally honest people. If you ask me for my honest opinion, you will get my honest opinion. I have mellowed over the years, though and I'll try to phrase things as nicely as possible now. Before it was just the truth lobbed like a grenade at someone's feet.

I joke with my students that writers get paid for telling lies. We make stuff up and if we're really good at it a lot of people will pay money to live in our lies for a little while. Are we really crafting lies or are we creating a new truth, a truth that exists for our characters and if we're really lucky and really good, a truth that speaks to others. Excellent writers find the truth within the lie. I suppose that's why they also call lying tale telling.

Time to get back to my tale telling.


  1. This is true... very well written.. there ARE three sides to every story!

  2. Writing mostly nonfiction, I spend my time making sure that names are spelled right and that no word can be misleading. Mistakes while trying to convey facts make a nonfiction writer vulnerable to libel suits.

    A friend told me about her predicament writing short stories and a novel: she spends her time making sure the names she creates share nothing with any real entities. Because that could make the fiction writer vulnerable to libel suits.

    Odd, what truth is to writing fiction and nonfiction.


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