Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Truth or Fiction

In the past, we’ve pretty well covered it all. Why we blog, when we blog, how we blog. We’ve discussed the inner therapy of a sad rant, and the external therapy of a glad rant. But, what we haven’t discussed is truth vs. fiction.

Now, three years ago, maybe more, I was addicted to a blog. I don’t know how many fans that blog had, but with the amount of daily comments it received, it was a huge crowd.

As for me, I started reading it with reluctance but soon the writer and I started to gel. She seduced me into seeing through my conservative eyes the realities of her much more liberal mind. And with each subsequent reading, I began to feel things I hadn’t expected to feel. Strong sentiments of pity, love, and understanding, even though her lifestyle was abhorrent to me.

But then came that unforgettable day when it was revealed the blog was a game of pretend. And with that, it was also revealed that she was a ‘he’. And so, although that didn't diminish the value of an expertly cloned reality, readers went bizerk. They berated the author mercilessly. They stubbornly refused to read more. The comments were angry and bitter. And in real life, if ready access could have been achieved, I’m certain the throng would have stoned the author in the marketplace.

And so the author moved to a new site with a masculine identity. ‘He’ continued to tell real-life-sounding stories that made the best of the English Classics seem like shambling prose. But despite all that, his readership bottomed out.

I couldn’t understand it. To me it mattered no more to the beauty and soul of the author than it mattered to me (when I was a child), that a man named Dodgson wrote “Alice in Wonderland”, rather than Lewis Carroll.

Now you don’t have to read much of my blog to know that I generally write true-to-life stuff seasoned with internalized and imaginative thoughts. So I assume my two readers expect to find a continuation of that kind of truth here, rather than fiction. Having said that, I will now disclose what prompted this rant.

In my most recent post “Match-Holders and Candy”, I cloned fact-filled reality and then, when I had the reader’s attention, I eventually ‘fessed up that it was a mere dream.

So, in light of that and all I have just told you, what’s your perspective on truth vs. fiction? At the conclusion of my rant, did you feel like a stoning in the marketplace? Or, at the very least, did you want to do as Dick suggested one should do with discourteous store clerks…

“…Seize the oaf [that would be me]by the collar, pull him [her] over the counter top and back through the door then insert him [her] head down into whatever containers there might be outside - water-butt, trash can, feed tub…”, etc.


Scotia said...

I think the issue is the purposeful misleading of people. The thing about the internet is that you can never really be sure if someone is who they say they are. You have to take most things with a grain of salt when you're reading blogs, and sort of just try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But, when you actively go out of your way to pretend you're someone you're not, and try to pass off fiction as truth at the same time... well, people feel duped, and no one likes to feel stupid.

No one.

Think about this one, if you would, please. What if that very same blog had been up front about it? A little * and a note at the bottom saying, "This blog is a work of fiction." Would that have lessened the quality of the writing, or the emotional connection? I've read many a fiction book and have felt "connected" with the characters within, even though I know they don't really exist... that they are the creation of someone's imagination, or at most an amalgamation of a number of real people all smushed into a single person that still does not exist.

I really think that person lost all his readers because he lied and made people feel the fool. (And no, I don't know of whom you speak.. specifically. :) )

Pauline said...

I'd like to be told upfront that fiction is fiction - when we read books, we know. We're told right away that what we are about to get all wrapped up in is either fictional, true, or based on a true story. i agree with Scotia - no one likes to feel duped.

As for your rant, I was surprised to find it wasn't true because it was written with the same sort of detail and emotion your rants usually contain. It didn't lessen my appreciation of the rant though ;)


This seems an appropriate moment and a fitting place to out myself as a wife and mother of five children. At last the great fiction of 'Dick Jones'' Patteran Pages' can be brought to an end and thank God for it. Vivat DEIRDRE Jones' Patteran Pages..!

Roberta S said...

I appreciate your comments, Scotia. I understand how annoying it can be if looking for medical info, or some such thing of a serious nature how important it is that people are out front and truly honest.

But on the other hand, I learned much from the blog I read because I read it, which I probably never would have done, if I known up front that the author was writing completely made-up fiction. So it can work either way.

Roberta S said...

Hi, Pauline. Thank you for your generousity towards the things I write - whether dreams or reality.

Roberta S said...

my god, DEIRDRE JONES, I read your comment and went into shock. Surely in the writing of this I did not give any suggestion that you are playing fictional games. I only referenced the phrase for what to do with discourteous clerks because I thought it was cute - rather priceless actually.

If this could be interpreted in the way you interpreted it, I must apologize. I am hurt and embarrassed. And then I say, why should I be?

Dick knows I wasn't referring to his blog because
a) we've known him too long to believe the story about Deirdre,
b) he usually writes poetry, rather than prose, and last but not least --
c) although he is an exceptional writer he does NOT make "the best of the classics sound like shambling prose"!

More seriously Dick, I do apologize if such a twisted interpretation could have come out of the rant that you or anyone could think for one moment that I was referring to you!!

If we aren't still friends, I'm going to go to my cabin, after I erase my blog, and I'm not ever going to write another word of fact, fiction, or even speculation!!

Pauline said...

Funny - I had a great chuckle over the Deirdre Jones comment. Surely it was tongue in cheek!

1000myths said...

I came across your Blog, or more specifically your entry "Writing What Matters" via "Live Bookmarks" I have no idea how it got there but I'm glad it did. The subject of "Mature Invisibility Syndrome", ("MIS") has fascinated me long before I began to experience it personally. Now I am, for all intents and purpposes almost totally invisible (and inaudible) to all but a handful of family members and friends. At the onset I found MIS to be disconcerting and sometimes painful but I have learned to live with my disability and sometimes masochistically enjoy it. ("So this is how (my) world ends, not with a bang but a... blank stare.")
I discovered a bit of related sage advice recently in the form of advice to seniors; to wit "Avoid boring people" which obviously can and should be interpreted two ways. Life is too short at this stage in my life (70 is only a memory) to waste it on the fools that I never "suffered gladly" but it is also inexcusable for me to inflict my inanities on others. (Garrulousness seems to increase in direct proportion to the limitations on intercourse) I am totally dispensable - the Kleenex of society and thus my own invisibility is inevitable. However, I will continue to rage until I haven't the strength to continue.

Roberta S said...

Hi 1000myths, I am so glad you came to visit. And thank you as well for those very interesting comments.

Yes, do continue raging. It is indeed elixir for our own souls, and if it overflows into the company of others, so what?