Creative Truth

Much gets said in the name of The Truth.  Andre Dubus said that most writers are truth-seekers. This sounds about right to me. From comic books to romance novels to post-modern cyberpunk, every writer must strive to root their story in what they understand to be the truth or risk losing the reader, who will sniff a lie sure as a bloodhound. I have a friend who likes to tell me stories. He always tells me stories about people neither of us have met and places neither of us have been. These are “true” stories, he assures me. He is the dutiful messenger of doom. In these stories, the powerful conspire in silver towers, plotting the further exploitation of the world, devising more and more devilish ways to destroy the meek.

It is hard for me to believe these stories because I never recognize any of the characters in them. I have never met anyone as evil as the men responsible for the conspiracies and ruin, and I have never met someone both so helpless and so good as those being taken advantage of. But my friend believes these stories completely, is devoted to them, and to tell a contrary story is tantamount to burying your head in the sand.

It is impossible, I believe, to seize the physical truth of any given moment. That is, to portray what “actually happened.” What actually happened is a diamond, and every participant in that moment a facet refracting the totality. I do believe, however, that there is a larger truth within which all moments must exist, and it is that life is ineluctably creative. I see creation in the rich and the poor and the black and the white. Life is incapable of ceasing this creation; it occurs continuously, every single waking, breathing, farting, writing, loving, weeping moment.

For this reason, I reject any facet of the truth that would ask me to give up. It is impossible to give up unless you die, and even then creation may well continue in some other form. If I cannot give up, I would seek only that truth which compels forward with the most speed, the most joy, the most light. To seek the truth of despair, meanwhile, is to seek the darkness so that you might see.

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