Saturday, May 28, 2016

Truth or Consequences: New Mexico or Story

Of the many possible and, in ironic counterpoint, definitions of the condition or quality known as truth, this simplistic, even reductionist one is appropriate: A conformity to actual fact. 

You could also say truth was a frequent conformity to fact, opening the door for truth, as, indeed, all qualities, to be relative. For you, truth would be at least a six on a scale of one to ten for conformity. 

If you said water boiled at one hundred Celsius degrees or two hundred twelve Fahrenheit degrees, you'd be up around nine point five of conformity to fact, provided you stipulated the heating site was at sea level.  

The wiggle room resides in water boiling at temperatures other than the hundred or two hundred twelve degree scale.  Water would not boil at the hundred- or two hundred twelve-degree levels in Denver, Colorado. This much is true.

Speaking of truth, one of your major mentors was an actor, who spoke to you with frequency and length about how an actor has to work to find the truth of a character she is chosen to play. By this, she referred to the way a particular character sees internal and external things and phenomena as authentic. 

No stretch of truth to say Dorothy Gale believed herself to be no longer in Kansas, to the degree of realizing she needed some help in moving from Oz, back home to Kansas.

Hearing this constant reference to the truth, as a specific character saw it, became a major point leading to the understanding of the nature of character, dialogue, and narrative in fiction; as well, an introduction to the understanding of individuals in straight time. 

One result was another simplistic-but-instructive vision of what story is: two or more individuals, believing his/her vision was true,while others were not. Thus: "How long are you going to continue with the lies?"

In consequence of such speculative definitions, you find it possible, even truthful, to declare: Sooty is the outcome of two or more characters, forging through words and deeds the result of an argument in which one character defeats or neutralizes the arguments of other characters. You could also say story is the mutual agreement of a vocabulary of feelings and concepts to be used from now on, the now beginning as the story is brought to closure.

The takeaway for you from this day's writing workshop resides in the observation: Truth is not always readily visible.  While the student was talking about her work in process, you wrote down her observation, first because of your interpretation (or truth) that her protagonist was looking to identify his truth, secondly because of your belief that writers are in a struggle to discern their own interior truth and the truth of their multifarious characters.

At the least, story for you is trying to write through the fog of unknowing and indistinct vision to the place where you can be sure water boils and at what temperature.

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