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I'm curious what you think of this:

"No, these stories are not true, but they are the truth of what I'm working on now. The truth of what I want to capture and hold in my hands just long enough to bring it to life and then let it go. Truth? Lies? Or a little bit of both, woven together to become even more true. Perhaps that's my true job as a writer...not to tell truth, but to create it."
~Shanna Germain

Perhaps it's because I grew up in a family that believed in the truth with a capital T (even though I personally don't), it still feels like working something into my poems that didn't happen to me or wasn't part of the real story is cheating in some way. I don't feel at liberty to embellish or fill in the blanks with something that would make the poem better, because I feel like the facts should be enough. But, increasingly I don't think that they are always enough to make a compelling story for the page.

What say you?
Poetry, movies, painting, novels, etc aren't all non-fiction. They can be, but it doesn't make them any better or any worse.

I'd much rather read or watch or experience an interesting thing that someone made up, than a mundane thing that has actually happened.

It doesn't matter if what was written was "true" for the writer. It matters if it becomes true for the person reading the poem. Often, I write poems where the core idea or emotion is based on something I've experienced, but the images/words used to express the idea are things I find more interesting than what I've actually experienced. Basically, I agree with what the person you quoted says.

A metaphor is very rarely dictionarily "true", yet it's used incredibly frequently in poetry, because it can make a simple idea more interesting.
I write poetry, not a diary and not encyclopaedia entries.
Well,

How can you write the truth. What ever you are imagining you are doing, you are writing through a distorted lense, so what you write can, at best, only be truthy.

I think it's best just to be honest with yourself and make everything up rather that delude yourself in believing you're Truthful, or can separate what you want to believe from what is real.
[Image: MagrittePipe.jpg]
Jeah bro, take another toke.
Who was is that said, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

Ha! The only autobiographical piece I've posted here in my humble months as a hog was shot down for being too boring.  I'm pondering a revision to make the content more interesting but hesitate to make things up.  I want to use the poem to figure out a personal dilemma, but perhaps therein lies the difference between diary and poetry.

Why is it that contemporary writing fetishizes violence and suffering?  Especially fiction, it seems like every other story I see about some form of sexual violence?  Why? Just for shock value?  Contemporary anthologies are full of them.  

Of course there's truth in violence, but I feel like authors too quickly jump to a shocking conflict at the expense of exploring other truths, which may be 'boring' to bread and circus audiences.

2¢
Have you tried writing a personal essay? There you can speak the truth as you experience it, and if you need to rearrange facts for any reason you can mention that in the same essay. Me, I believe my dreams and all my thoughts and imaginings are as real as everything else about me. I live my life as if I'm in a coma I could wake up from at any time.
(07-13-2016, 08:54 PM)Pdeathstar Wrote: [ -> ]Well,

How can you write the truth. What ever you are imagining you are doing, you are writing through a distorted lense, so what you write can, at best, only be truthy.

I think it's best just to be honest with yourself and make everything up rather that delude yourself in believing you're Truthful, or can separate what you want to believe from what is real.


To be clear, I'm not saying that I'm speaking the Truth, I just grew up in that and I'm having a hard time convincing myself that I can bend reality a little bit for my own purposes. Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that.
A personal essay could work.  That would invite research which can shed light on things.  I guess I just got sick of writing them in school and am trying to approach the topic in a less structured way.  Poetry helps us explore things differently than essays and I guess I'm after the insight of the former rather than the understanding of the latter.

Dreams and thoughts are real enough, but are they truths?

I guess in all depends on how we define 'truth telling.'

We hear authors say all the time, 'my job is to tell the truth.' fiction writers say this all the time; that doesn't mean their stories are grounded in fact.

What I think lizzie is talking about is making up content for poems, not 'truth telling' as yarn spinners say.
Not everyone is an artist. There are always enough unimaginitive people around to maintain rational society.
[/quote]


To be clear, I'm not saying that I'm speaking the Truth, I just grew up in that and I'm having a hard time convincing myself that I can bend reality a little bit for my own purposes. Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that.
[/quote]

Ha! Whoever spoke the Truth?

I'm a fan of nonfiction, so my poetry tends to move in that direction.  I find myself distracted by fiction, constantly thinking, 'O.K. This is all bull shit, so who cares?' But the deeper value is in how the threads of a narrative or stanza are woven together to make a brilliantly told story.

Here's the question as I see it.  Do you care more about accuracy or entertainment?  For poetry as a genre, authors tend towards the latter; poetry is more concerned with the art of writing than fact checking lines.

So I'm working on the yarn.
(07-13-2016, 06:20 PM)Wjames Wrote: [ -> ]Poetry, movies, painting, novels, etc aren't all non-fiction. They can be, but it doesn't make them any better or any worse.

I'd much rather read or watch or experience an interesting thing that someone made up, than a mundane thing that has actually happened.

It doesn't matter if what was written was "true" for the writer. It matters if it becomes true for the person reading the poem. Often, I write poems where the core idea or emotion is based on something I've experienced, but the images/words used to express the idea are things I find more interesting than what I've actually experienced. Basically, I agree with what the person you quoted says.

A metaphor is very rarely dictionarily "true", yet it's used incredibly frequently in poetry, because it can make a simple idea more interesting.

Sure, this makes sense. I think that, increasingly, I am coming to see the truth of all this.

(07-13-2016, 11:07 PM)rowens Wrote: [ -> ]Have you tried writing a personal essay? There you can speak the truth as you experience it, and if you need to rearrange facts for any reason you can mention that in the same essay. Me, I believe my dreams and all my thoughts and imaginings are as real as everything else about me. I live my life as if I'm in a coma I could wake up from at any time.

Yeah, I have an autobiographical short story that I'm working on (slowly) that I'm having the exact same problem with! I feel like I need to stick to the facts, but, since it's just all my recollections and speculations, that's not even really on the table. And it's stalling me up because I feel like I'm lying. And, since it's about people who actually exist in my life, I feel under scrutiny to make it, well "the truth." Singular. Because I made the amateur mistake of telling them about the project. Facepalm.

And, I actually feel that my inner life is just as real as my outer, same as you. Sometimes even more so because I'm faking things a lot on the exterior.

Reality is so limiting!

#daydreamerproblems

(07-13-2016, 10:38 PM)kolemath Wrote: [ -> ]Who was is that said, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

Ha! The only autobiographical piece I've posted here in my humble months as a hog was shot down for being too boring.  I'm pondering a revision to make the content more interesting but hesitate to make things up.  I want to use the poem to figure out a personal dilemma, but perhaps therein lies the difference between diary and poetry.

Why is it that contemporary writing fetishizes violence and suffering?  Especially fiction, it seems like every other story I see about some form of sexual violence?  Why? Just for shock value?  Contemporary anthologies are full of them.  

Of course there's truth in violence, but I feel like authors too quickly jump to a shocking conflict at the expense of exploring other truths, which may be 'boring' to bread and circus audiences.

2¢

I'm probably that person that fixates on suffering. Ha! Apologies.

But, I feel very intensely this problem of how do we explore the truths that interest us and we're mulling at the moment with the "nonstop Pantera riff" that the rest of the world expects. I don't know where I got that phrase, so I can't reference.

I feel the impulse sometimes to try to sex up my writing to make it more provocative. I think that people would engage more if my titles were "full frontal" or "naughty girl." You know? I've written a couple of more racy items on this site, and I like doing that, I just resent feeling like I HAVE to do that to "entertain."

You know what? I'm going to just go ahead and start titling my things that way, and let everybody be disappointed when it turns out to be a poem about pine cones or something Tongue
You don't have to lie or make things up -- you just have to allow people to look at your pictures from different angles. The more you try to make your reader see things exactly "as they were", the less likely it is that they will engage, simply because they may never have seen even a nearly identical situation in the same way as you.

Metaphor and symbolism are beautiful things. They allow the reader to project his/her experience onto a poem without actually affecting the way that you intended it. That's what sets poetry apart from neatly-lined prose. I would be willing to bet that very few people who read my poems ever know which are from an actual experience of mine and which are entirely imagined -- and I like it that way.
Something does not need to be factual to be true.

dale
(07-14-2016, 05:46 AM)Erthona Wrote: [ -> ]Something does not need to be factual to be true.

dale

Yep, that's where I stand. Thanks for saying it short and sweet instead of the rambling post in my head. Big Grin
I always come to these threads late.

I remember pissing some people off once when I wrote in a poem that I tell lies. They were more pissed off at that than I thought they would be.

Hmm. You know from your comment Lizzie, it seems that you perceive poetry as confessional. That's a school I occasionally dabble in, but I'm not afraid to lie sometimes. The poem tells a truth it isn't always THE truth.

I am not always the speaker of my poem. I does not always mean me. When we use metaphor and simile and other devices they usually provide a distance to portray something real. Sometimes the speaker of my poem is a liar. Sometimes I am lying. Often times, I may not even know I'm lying in the poem--the deficiencies of memory.

I don't let it worry me.
(07-13-2016, 11:16 PM)lizziep Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-13-2016, 08:54 PM)Pdeathstar Wrote: [ -> ]Well,

How can you write the truth. What ever you are imagining you are doing, you are writing through a distorted lense, so what you write can, at best, only be truthy.

I think it's best just to be honest with yourself and make everything up rather that delude yourself in believing you're Truthful, or can separate what you want to believe from what is real.


To be clear, I'm not saying that I'm speaking the Truth, I just grew up in that and I'm having a hard time convincing myself that I can bend reality a little bit for my own purposes. Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that.


didn't mean you specifically, just you, me, anyone. Cept Jesus.
ooo, truth today! can we do 'what is the meaning of life?' tomorrow?
(07-14-2016, 07:17 AM)Todd Wrote: [ -> ]I always come to these threads late.

I remember pissing some people off once when I wrote in a poem that I tell lies. They were more pissed off at that than I thought they would be.

Hmm. You know from your comment Lizzie, it seems that you perceive poetry as confessional. That's a school I occasionally dabble in, but I'm not afraid to lie sometimes. The poem tells a truth it isn't always THE truth.

I am not always the speaker of my poem. I does not always mean me. When we use metaphor and simile and other devices they usually provide a distance to portray something real. Sometimes the speaker of my poem is a liar. Sometimes I am lying. Often times, I may not even know I'm lying in the poem--the deficiencies of memory.

I don't let it worry me.

Thanks for this Todd. Yes, all of my writer friends are confessional, and I probably am as well. It's so cliche, I know. I just find people to be the most fascinating subjects -- I can't stand writing about pheasants and waterfalls. I like portraits, not landscapes. No offense to anyone who does.

What's funny is that, of anyone here, I resonate to your work the most. So, it's good for me to know that you're letting the poem take you where it needs to and you're ok with that. I want to be ok with it, too. It's not that I'm such a literal person. That's just the box that I unconsciously fell into. I'd love to leave that behind.
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