As this blog will center on themes of the truth and fiction’s role in storytelling, I find it fitting to use a quote from fellow fictional autobiography author Tim O’Brien to launch into the world of blogging. When speaking about his novel The Things We Carried, O’Brien referred to falsified bits of the story, claiming, “That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
For the past week or so, I have sought to identify the boundaries, or lack thereof, between truth and lie. Labels such as fiction and nonfiction, fact and lie set up walls in the mind in which the differentiation between truth and fact is stark. These confinements are the very obstacles I have been working to overcome, as, when writing, the true and the false often meet and intertwine to form a hybrid perspective, not entirely false or untrustworthy, but not completely true or reliable either. Thus, the prevalence of fiction autobiographic writing has increased because of the realization that one cannot exist without the other, and writing provokes an interaction between the two. There is no nonfiction without fiction, and one cannot escape the other when writing a truly resonating piece.
My final product will be a fictional autobiography encompassing the entirety of my life story so far, as well as pieces of the lives of those around me in a sort of fictional, character-based form. I want my novel to have a variety of themes that will flow interchangeably throughout the storyline.
The beginning will explore themes of innocence, moving onto the confusion that comes along in the years just before becoming a teen. The novel’s focus will then shift to the romance and discovery of sexuality in teen years, then ending with the losing and regaining of my individuality in part because of love and relationships. I’m hoping to end the story with the aspect of starting anew in college, letting go of my old self and her dilemmas, or some of my painful life experiences and relationships. There will be some traces of themes throughout the story such as race, questioning of sexuality, honesty, and trust. However, the novel’s foundation will rest with my experiences with and takes on such issues and journeys in a story-like manner.
Over the last few years I have read at least a dozen fictional autobiographies, but none have stood out to me quite like Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which centers around her experiences with love and its hardships through the telling of a fictional character’s story that is actually a rendition of her own. I am positively ecstatic to have the chance to work on my own Their Eyes Were Watching God with my godmother and my advisor, two exceptional writers with varying tastes and styles, on my project. I am also excited to continue posting updates and entries to the blog, honing in on my writing skills and style.
Cover Picture: https://ravingreader.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/their-eyes-were-watching-god-zora-neale-hurston-1937/