February 8th, 2006
|05:56 pm - Reality, truth, and memory|
For those not up on the "James Frey Controversy", The Smoking Gun's story is really the kicker for the whole thing.
For those who just want a quick run-down, there's this guy (named, coincidentally, "James Frey") who happened to write a memoir. This memoir was published, and the catapulted to the top of the NYT Bestseller list by Oprah, when she added it to her Book Club's reading list. It was later discovered to be full of false information, which displeased Oprah and made a lot of people feel betrayed.
I have never made a secret about the way my memory works. It sometimes occurs that things did not happen the way that I remember them happening. I touched on it in a journal entry on Nov. 29 (which can be found in an LJ entry). I've thought about it a lot, actually.
For instance, if someone told me that I didn't meet a bunch of Time-Traveling Magicians, I'd call them a fucking liar and I might even have the urge to punch them. The way I write and the way I think are inseperable. As I write, I visualize. I see, feel, and taste. I hear. I smell. Everything takes on a reality beyond the reality of my fingers typing these words right now. The everyday things I experience are entirely lacking in the same reality that I write in.
I imagine that for Frey, it was the same.
I have no doubt that he firmly believed the things he wrote about, that they happened. I have no doubt that his work was honest and possibly had more integrity than my own. Of course, his reality was brought down by overwhelming evidence, as anyone's can be. He probably stepped a bit over the boundary when he placed himself into an accident that took the lives of two girls.
But I don't believe he wrote a word that wasn't true.
So I started telling stories that were true, myself. Let me assure you that the most true of the stories with polls attached is the one about Washburn. The least true is the one about my car going into the shop. And the funny thing is, I have a receipt to prove that my car was, indeed, in the shop until 12:30 on Tuesday. It's three pages long, if you really want to see it.
Every word I wrote is true. Sure, you might disbelieve it, but I know that every one of those incidents happened. I didn't mention that there were 143 Bud Light cans near that cave, but there were. There were also some bottles, but I didn't think I needed to mention that. The other 96 cans were of various makes, with ten being Coors cans. Of course, this was before I knew tesinth well, so the Coors didn't make much of an impression on me, other than that they were a nice round number.
Ask me to describe that cave sometime. I'll close my eyes and tell you exactly how the cave looked. I could tell you what the voice in the cave said, but you probably wouldn't believe that, either. . . but I know it. I can't tell you the temperature, but I can tell you what it felt like (it was a bit chilly when the sun went down, honestly), and I can tell you that the road out of the mining area is rather frightening to drive when the shift ends after dark. And I should let you know that the only thing that the mop couldn't do for us was buy liquor: it had no state-issued ID.
Here's one, too that might catch your attention: I can tell you exactly what healing_coyote was wearing when I met her. It's one of those detail sets that I will forever remember.
Of course, she's indicated in the past that she doesn't own one of the items I mentioned she wore, but I know for a fact that she was wearing it. Her reality may not match mine, but neither is more correct than the other's.
I fully believe that the sun was not a giant ball of burning gasses until we noticed it was. Sorry. What good does it do us to correct that perception? Why does it have to be a giant ball of gas for our ancestors? Why can't it be a chariot? Why not a god?
For that matter, would you argue that in the Aztec world, Venus was actually a planet, similar to our own? What an idiot they would think you! And they'd be right. That's Quetzalcoatl, stupid! Venus was Quetzalcoatl. Maybe it isn't today, but who knows what it will be tomorrow?
The polls, of course, were because I was curious how the entries would be seen. I think a whole lot about perception and how people see my entries. It intrigues me that the perceptions affect how I write. I love how the girl at the library was easy to believe, but the mop that fetched ice was not. I laughed when I saw that the time spent at the arboretum was more real through the interaction others had with it, but the "smackle" of entries was the straw that broke the camel's back and pissed people off. What really amused me, though, was the indication that I had messed up my polls, that there were answers missing, or the wording of the poll title was bad, or I was doing something else wrong. And, I admit, those just fueled my desire to continue with those entries. Sorry, but that's how I work.
I admit, it's really, really funny to me about how people sometimes complain about how I keep my journal. Thanks for the laughs, folks. You make it all worth it. Or something :)
My life is full of magic primarily as a result of how I see reality. There's nothing more real, nothing more true than what I believe happened.
Some entries where I mused on memory and/or honesty and/or reality:
"I could give you a star,Now, to finish architectural priority II-A: Divinity, as it regards Xochicalco. Then work out Teotihuacan, and then do it all over again for priority II-B: Sacred History.
you could give me one too
and that way we'd be even."
-The Refreshments, "Down Together"
Workin' hard, gettin' stuff done, thinking about all sorts of things, people, and stars that need collecting and distributing in the near future.
I owe four gold stars, I understand. I'm sure I can come up with what's needed, no problem.
Current Mood: amused
Current Music: "Please Come to Boston", -JB
As far as the "smackle" of entries being the straw that broke the camel's back, I blame the fact that you don't work weekends. It was your first entry of the new week, and thus dashed the natural closing point for your polling that the weekend might have become.
I do find it interesting that you are intrigued by others telling you how to write your journal, yet the "smackle" contained that contraversial section in which you tell others how to think. Or least how they should (and should not) be directing their mental energies. :)
It could seem that way, I suppose. But it was very, very amusing that a number of people mentioned it in that entry, though a couple of people had made the odd comment here and there before.
Re: how people ought to do X or Y:
Well, yeah; I imagine there's a reason it never got posted until just then. Gods only know when I wrote that. Then again, I'd say the message was, "anywhere but here, please. . . Try these suggestions if you can't find another place to put them." And I wonder if it's different to say that to my readers, rather than have my readers say it to me. . . After all, it's my journal, take or leave, right? But, of course, that's not really the case, especially with my LJ, which is generally set up as a conversation. Ah, so many strange ideas. But I need some sleep :)
Well, it wouldn't be Monday if your LJ wasn't the focal point for some sort of contraversy. I think my first post to it was in the midst of some sort of fiery political debate. But either way, mission accomplished if a collection of ones and zeroes transmitted over high speed phones lines can evoke an emotional response from the reader?
I suppose so, if I ever thought of a mission with this journal. I'm actually pretty sure that I don't have an actual aim with any entry, or even a long-term plan. I should scheme more.
But I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy things getting emotional :)