Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Introducing "This Is Fiction"

I have never considered myself to be all that creative. I can’t sing or play music; can’t draw or paint; don’t really have any artistic talent. At least that was how I used to think. Don’t get me wrong – I still don’t posses those afore mentioned talents – it’s just that I have expanded my view of what qualifies as a “talent” and what defines art. Many things, actually, pretty much everything can fall under that umbrella. Writing, therefore, can easily be a talent that can be developed into an art.

I have taken my fair share of “assessment” tests over the years. Many measured such things as right-brained/left-brained dominances, the artistic versus the logical, mechanical against intuitive and other variances of the same psychobabble. Although there is no intrinsic harm in measuring these factors, there is considerable potential for harm in how the results may be used.

Suffice it to say, I have never been labeled as “creative.” I think it is still true in some respects, but when the criteria and definitions are opened sufficiently wide enough, we all create. My talent… my art does not appeal to the visual or the auditory, but uses those senses to create or recreate the same magic as a personalized experience for each individual mind. Writing is an art form that leaves the final rendition for the reader to define and redefine at will. My freshman comp professor always used to say, “don’t tell me, show me.”

My job is to arrange simple symbols in such a way that they convey meaning. It matters not how beautifully the words flow if the meaning of the sum is lost. It has always been relatively easy for me to be clear with the precision placement of these symbols. I have a “talent” for painting a picture with words. I could not appreciate how important, how satisfying… indeed how beautiful and powerful word placement could be until relatively recently.

I have often confused creativity with fiction when it comes to writing. “Creative writing” tries to tap into resources that I don’t posses. I find it near impossible to weave a tale out of thin air, though I could re-tell one with eloquence. Then there’s “creative non-fiction,” whatever that means. If it refers to epiphany, revelation or introspection – then I don’t know if I’d call it creative. It is still the transmission of reality through the meaning conveyed by the symbols used to form words and sentences. It is what I am writing at this very moment.

I’ve said all that to get to this. I have added a new blog to my stable. It’s called “This Is Fiction” and that is exactly what it is. Everything found there didn’t really happen, not as told anyway. However, like all fiction, mine is based on real life and real events – some are my own and some are others’. Some may, in reality, contain more fact than fiction, but it is fiction all the same. I put a disclaimer in the blog’s subtitle that says as much. This is not so much to protect myself or anyone else necessarily, but to remind me.

The first entry is a cliffhanger. It leaves more unanswered than it reveals. I know what happened, but I don’t know yet what is going to happen. That is the freedom I’ll get from this page. One needs only ask disgraced “memoir” author James Frey how much better the facts can sound if only things didn’t occur that way. In fiction, I need not stick with the facts - I can create them. This is all brand new for me – we’ll see together where it goes.


Lacey said...

I was very excited to see your fiction post up. I enjoyed reading it. Are you working on a single project with your Fiction blog, or will you write snippetts of different stories?

What inspired you to begin this one?

Mr. Althouse said...

Actually, neither. I mean, eventually I hope to put something together if I find it is within my capabilities. As for this particular piece - I think I better finish it, it's rather ambiguous as is.

This is inspired by real life. Something like this happened and the story line is not out in the ether... I know the direction it'll take because I know the direction it took. What that will look like, however, is anybody's guess.


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