Description: What is the boundary between fiction and nonfiction? What happens if the line between the two is crossed? Can we possibly recall events in our lives exactly as they happened? In creative nonfiction, such as memoir, the audience expects the writer to recall things exactly as they happened, with no embellishments, re-ordering, additions, or subtractions. It seems as if authors of creative nonfiction are bound to be questioned about events, nitpicked on details, challenged on memories, and accused of portraying real-life people the "wrong" way. Yet when the writer creates fiction, it seems to go the other way: readers like to think there are parallels between an author and her stories. Readers congratulate themselves for finding the similarities between the two, and instead of focusing on the crafted story at hand, try to search out which parts are "true" and which are embellished. Does any of this matter, though; don't all stories tell a kind of truth? We have an insatiable urge to classify, to "know" the truth, but truth isn't merely a recollection of cold facts; likewise, a story isn't any less true if it's fiction.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Stephens, Cara