I was reading Stephen King’s Joyland, which I’d picked up in a charity shop, over my morning coffee when I encountered the following line:
When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction
Is this fact or fiction, so to speak? This line was unearthed in a work of fiction. And, to further blur the lines, truth can be found in fiction and fiction hidden in truth. But what about what it refers to, in regards to history? Our own history?
Revisionism. I’ve known people alter the facts to suit and justify their own particular narrative. Events recounted that don’t quite match up with our own recollection of things. I guess we all know someone like that.
But what about me? Do I ‘write’ fiction about my past?
I think I’m mostly the opposite. At the time, wherever along my timeline that ‘time’ was, I’d sometimes put a spin on things. Make myself appear more favourable and, forever the storyteller, embellish things for entertainment purposes, playing to the audience.
And of course obscure things I’d prefer not see the light of day. We’re all human and life is a learning curve.
Now, further down the line and removed by years and even decades, I recount how things really were back then from my own perspective (and it’s all about perspective, isn’t it?), with an insight I didn’t possess at the time.
Maybe age brings with it, along with wisdom, a certain candour. A candour maybe recognised by encountering an alternate version of truth in the midst of a work of fiction.