From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

James Frey’s Fiction Factory

     I found this article painfully provocative. It touches on so many points that have changed for writers over the last few years. The discussion of product placement in one's work made me rather sick. Still when I look at Frey, look into his eyes in the many accompanying photos, or look into his actions, I see something somewhat familiar. I suspect we all might. I see, at least in some small way, myself. Certainly, his methods are different than any I have or ever will choose. He is rather routinely coarse and vulgar, which I avoid being, (but have often been). His concept of honesty may vary somewhat from mine, (or yours or Oprah's), but no one can be perfectly authentic all of the time, we can only strive to be. What he is ... is a writer, desperate to tell his story. We are storytellers. A position once revered within the tribe. The biggest difference I see between Frey and I right now is that he is supporting himself and his family as a writer. Steven Spielberg isn't calling me.

James Frey’s Fiction Factory

     We also owe Frey a bit of gratitude, I think, in raising the discussion of honesty in memoir writing to the level it has reached. As a memoirist I have given the subject quite a bit of thought, mostly since Frey inflated the balloon. I believe the bottom line is that we, each and every one of us, have our own truth. The book I'm writing is my truth. Nobody else mentioned in it, though they were there, would write the story the same way. Some are going to say it didn't happen quite like that. Some are going to say the worst ~ "that's not true". What they mean is that it is not their version of the truth, so they feel they can invalidate my version of my truth. But they can't. Not really. And real writers know that.