Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fact vs. Truth

I’ve always been fascinated by the way facts intersect with truth. It seems as if a fact would be pretty cut and dried. “My big brother hit me.” That’s a fact, and yet it isn’t necessarily the whole truth. The truth might be that the younger brother did something to provoke the older sibling, or perhaps he tripped and fell against the older sibling’s arm so it would look like he got hit because he was bored and wanted to start something.

That’s one of the reasons police and judges like to get so many different witnesses statements on what they say; everyone sees things in a slightly different way, their perspective colored by the way they view the world.

It’s also one of the things I love to write about, that fuzzy gray area surrounding facts, that bit that’s open to interpretation.

And even facts that are indisputable have different truths surrounding them, and that’s one of the most fascinating things for me to explore as an author.

Fact: Your best friend moved away.

That’s pretty simple, cut and dried, indisputable. But that fact also contains a wealth of truth behind it, truth worth exploring. Because you could feel miserable that your best friend moved away, sad and lonely and sure you’ll never have a best friend again.

Or, you could feel relieved. Maybe your best friend had grown too bossy or domineering and was beginning to suffocate you. Her moving away took care of the problem.

So some people might say that it is a fact that werewolves do not exist, but the truth is, most of us have a beast that lurks deep inside us, hidden in the darkest places of our soul. This beast is the part of us that we like the least, that part of us that does or thinks things we know aren’t right or kind or worthwhile in any way. But that beast is still a part of human nature, just as a werewolf’s beast is part of what makes him a werewolf.

And the truth is that throughout history there have been stories of men who could shift between animal shapes and their own; men who could access animal strengths and use them to make themselves even more powerful. Whenever a theme repeats itself through generations and societies and cultures like that, I tend to think there must be a grain of truth in the premise. As a writer, that’s what I love to do—try to search out that premise or, if I can’t find one, make one up that sounds absolutely true.

So here’s a question while I’m gone: What things do you believe might be true, even though the rest of the world believes that it isn’t?


dee said...

I believe in a lot of things that seem dippy to some people, and I don't believe in things that some people swear are true.
Honestly, this is a great question, but I need to give it a lot of thought before I answer it.
I hope you're having a great time, and can't wait to hear all about it!!

dee said...

I'm not a believer in LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, though I do strongly believe in LUST at first sight.
I also believe in God, though many think it is foolish to do so.
I believe that the Bible is true.
I don't believe in mystical creatures, but I do believe that there are angels.
I think magic sometimes really happens, and I also believe in miracles.
And, I believe that there is both good and evil inside every person, but that the evil is more prevalent, and the good is more fulfilling. Yes, that's from a more religious perspective, but I really believe it. Watching my kids, and really being honest with myself, seems to prove it to me, but I'm not an expert, so who really knows.
I also believe in the power of books to transport normal everyday people to worlds beyond their imaginations, and into people they only ever dreamed of being.