When It’s a Mere Story (fake, fake, true)

It is a story, a fib, a lie (if you like). I prefer reading and writing nonfiction (reality), but like any writer, I sometimes make things up and present them as literature. They also surface as fiction or reflections of imagination in my poems.

In my writer’s tool box are words, ideas, experience, knowledge, limited imagination, and scant creativity (I know where to get it), technology (a long list of software and hardware goes here), language, and some ability to read and write. Admitting my shortcomings as a journeyman of letters, I consider every editor I know to be a (god or goddess) helpful resource along with a multitude of other writers, authors, and critics.

I like to work with parable, symbolism, simile, metaphor, allegory and allusion, analogy, and soliloquy in poems and essays. I am talking about verisimilitude (all 14 letters and six syllables), or the appearance of reality or truth. I found that word on a list as I researched this piece.

When it’s not biographical and is just a story, it gets tricky. It’s not the writing. It’s what (WTF) am I talking about? Fiction resides in reality and truth. Fact can likewise be disguised in fiction. Names, dates, situations, and persons are often fictionalized in truth.

I know twins (grandparents) who, as children, were both present at a memorable and emotional family event. They both remember it well. However, when they discuss it, each has a different version of the same event, even though they stood side-by-side as eyewitnesses. Each is telling the truth, but how each one saw it and remembers it is different.

One of my favorite authors is Pat Conroy. Pat wrote autobiographical fiction. His stories were based on his real life: his family, people he knew and loved, his schools, his job as a teacher, and other real events. Indeed, his fiction was based (often heavily) on real life.

Conroy paid a high price in several ways. A lot of people got mad at him. Some fellow writers looked down on his creativity (or lack of) in using real world events and people to write fiction. I like the ties to the real. But that does not mean there was always such an entwinement. Other autobiographical fiction writers include Tim O’Brien, Sylvia Plath, Sandra Cisneros, and many others.

Sometimes I make up a story from a thought or memory, but the reality is only a setting or a trigger. It is not necessarily autobiographical or about current real-life circumstances. It is not a message to someone, not a plot applicable to my personal life, not real at all. Many people assume it is. However, sometimes (often?) it is all of that.

I like the ‘how-to’ memoir book by Tristine Rainer, “Your Life as Story: Discovering the ‘New Autobiography’ and Writing Memoir as Literature.” While one should never intentionally lie (fib?), it may be necessary to fill gaps in events with things that may not be exactly precise, true, and factual.

I have been told that every writer (artist or person) puts part of him- or herself into everything he or she writes. I agree. Still, not everything I write is real, or happened, or is about any real person. It may be about how I feel or what I experience emotionally.

Indeed, it was or is true or partly true, or the true facts as I recall them. Often, for me, my writing is a search for myself – for my truth, my honesty, my story, my interpretation of actual events. Maybe it’s just psycho-babble, but writing seems to be part of me trying to say something about me. I’ve written a memoir. It is unfinished, but I will get back to it.

I wrote a poem about a door. A suggested title was ‘An Ode to Agoraphobia.’ While the poem was not intended to be about any mental condition, after I wrote it, I realized it was clearly about fear of going out into the world. I’ve never had such a fear. When I researched possible submissions, I discovered that some publications only wanted it if I suffered from the malady. I ain’t sayin’ I do when I don’t.

The mag’s policy made sense technically, but it was a true poem about a real emotional or mental state that I can only imagine. I’ve written stories about men committing suicide and people doing all sorts of things I never have or will do. Human behavior, bizarre or normal, is interesting. Fiction and nonfiction rely on interest.

The catch is that when people assume what I write is directly associated with my life, they’re usually correct. People who know me personally would certainly assume autobiographical or nonfictional writing, especially other writers. They know how I work. However, sometimes it is just my overactive Irish blarney oozing onto the page with a bit of imagination peppered with fib to improve the taste.

And that, my dear friends, is the absolute truth.

Look both ways in fact and fiction.
Let reality peek into the gaps of light in everything.

Poetry (or is it?)

Is This the Real Thing?

It’s everything what’s bad
You want me to believe
that man is god? Seriously?
Reality is human nature. Dark.
The only safe way to be is against,
against everybody and everything.

‘tis neither fit nor rot.

Is this the reality of real life?
Or is it all just a dream of
A dream within a fantasy?
Open your eyes.
Look to the skies.
Look around and see reality.

Truth is for all to see.

Every form of refuge has its price
Reality is our god. The only god,
The god of universe, birth, death
no tribute or prayer brings change.
We all have dues to pay, the rich,
the poor, the good, the bad.

We deem it reality.

Save the worthless praise. Just be.
Find the truth in this reality
without offer or any sacrifice.
See the light but thank the darkness.
Be the proof of true existence.
Seek out verity in what is.

Truth is Reality!

Bill Reynolds © 7/2/2018

Look both ways to see the light. Mind the darkness of the gaps.

Truthful End

In the end, my truth will bind me,
at that end, is when I’ll see
my unmasked face torn to tatters,
ain’t my truth what really matters?

For now, the lie is here with me,
he dwells within, filled with glee.
In symbiosis, we have confirmed,
I love the lie, he’s unconcerned.

Then he waits. The lie is clever.
He tells me that I’ll live forever,
a power he grants me over Truth.
Can’t you see? The lie is smooth.

For now, I provide the lie a home.
I hide the lie in every poem.
I wonder why. Is this the Truth?
I ponder lies, my poor excuse?

Then, one day I must cross over,
that is when I will discover
the lie has been a deceitful lover,
posing as my different drummer.

Death is light on another shore,
Truth has always loved me more.
The lie be gone, but he’s no ghost,
he’ll always find another host.

In the end, and since my youth
I’ve lived the lie but known the Truth –
at this parting there’s no dispute,
the lie has been, my personal truth.

My mask removed,
my face exposed,
my inner Truth has been disclosed:
both truth and lie were parts of me, but only one could set me free.

Bill Reynolds, 8/20/2017

Look both ways, to the lies and to the truth.
Mind the gaps, but there are many of both.

From The NeverEnding Story

A few weeks ago was the 33rd anniversary of the movie, The NeverEnding Story, being released to theaters. I wrote this little ditty to relate to the moral of the story, as I see it today.

Moonchild

The mantle of truth is a heavy coat of many colors,
it gives warmth and freedom, but not love, friends, or quiet.
I can wear it out for all see, or keep it secretly private,
hidden away from the flak and dissent of others.

During this never-ending search for the best,
I face many challenges, and risk the love of others.
Do I seek such love, or a truth not of any lovers?
Must Falkor guide me on my never-ending quest?

When it’s only a story, is it also a myth?
At the Magic Mirror Gate, what truth have I now?
What is it within me, that this story won’t allow?
Are love and truth the same, or is it the Oracle’s kiss?

I find the impossible hard to defend.
The nothing is within me, but I’ll take my stand
for the dream of truth to my last grain of sand.
No seeker would stop with this as the end.

We deny then accept, it’s hard to compile,
the path is a clear one for all who will stay,
it may not be possible, at least not today.
Make Fantasia all truth, son of Moonchild.

*Bill Reynolds 7/31/2017

On your never-ending story, look both ways. Mind the gaps, they’re not myths.

My favorite lines from the movie (and the youtube clip):

G’mork: Foolish boy. Don’t you know anything about Fantasia? It’s the world of human fantasy. Every part, every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind. Therefore, it has no boundaries.

Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?

G’mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.

Atreyu: What is the Nothing?

G’mork: It’s the emptiness that’s left. It’s like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.