The Whole Truth
Writing teaches me every day, but if it teaches me nothing else it teaches me to trust. Specifically, trust that the truth will always be enough. The truth will always be funny enough, interesting enough, exciting enough, or compelling enough for the story I want to tell. The truth needs no exaggeration; it needs no help. I cannot, however, manufacture the truth, anymore than I can manufacture the sky or an elm tree. The best I can do is to report it, translate it. I have tried to manufacture a more interesting truth when I worried that the truth itself would not suffice, but this ersatz reality, no matter how dramatic, always felt a little thin against what I rejected.
What’s more, the truth resists evidence. It will never be proven, only perceived. And to perceive it, I must keep my attention upon it. The moment I move my attention in search of some proof of what I have perceived, I lose sight of the truth and doubt moves in to take its place. If I feel betrayed by the truth for not following my attention, I call myself a skeptic. Mostly, however, writing has taught me to return my attention to what I had known to be the truth when I had perceived it.
The beautiful thing about the truth is that I can see it in everything if I look at the world correctly. You cannot perceive it if you don’t believe it’s there, but the moment you do, the truth reveals itself. It reveals itself in the sky and in elm trees, in friends and strangers, and from time to time, if I am very still, even in the mirror.
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