I am kind of TAing for a class that makes students better writers, or something like that, and in that class this week we’ve been talking about different events in lives that make people who they are. And while I’m not sure what that really means, it certainly makes me delve deep and try to come up with stuff that has happened to me that turned me into something like a person.
I don’t have anything to say, really, but the class discussions about how stories are made are interesting.
The very act of conjuring up a memory is writing fiction. It’s taking slices of things that happened, shuffling them, writing characters that might have existed, once upon a time, and ripping them into prescient little shreds. Then rearranging them into a story. Warren Ellis has written about this somewhere, and I know that I have too, but I can’t be bothered to go find it.
We want to make stories. We want to turn random events into something that actually makes sense. We want arcs; we want drama. Look at reality t.v. It’s literally turning life into fiction via storyboarding.
So the fiction versus the reality of it really doesn’t matter very much. Even writing non-fiction is fiction. Don’t bother trying to pull it apart. The only way to write nonfiction, real nonfiction, would be to canonize the bare moments of the future. And that’s not really possible, is it?