truth and fiction in writingI read a tweet saying there’s not enough stories about people connecting, coming together, and fighting a common enemy. The context was community stories and wanting more stories about coming together as a group.

That got me thinking, did the writer mean that there was not enough true stories about such things?

Because the annals of fiction are filled with such stories; the lone dissident leading the rebellion, or a nation coming together to fight a common enemy. And here’s a secret, I hold many of those fictional stories in higher esteem than many of the true-life stories I’ve heard.

The very fact that it’s true can inspire us but I’m not sure can necessarily motivate us to action.¬† True stories tell us what is possible, and they can tell us what to do, but they lack the crucial quality of transporting the reader outside of himself (and his experiences) to treat what is not possible as reality, if only in his head.

In a true story, based on real life, we see the situation in parallel with ours, but with all the inconsistencies as well.

A fictional story is treated at once as “not real” but our minds deal with it in a very real way. We unconsciously make the impossible, possible. A very useful trick I think.

Do we need more true stories of community? I suppose it wouldn’t hurt. Do we need more stories¬† that inspire us, as well as make us believe in the impossible, that we can make what is not real, real?

That, I believe, is essential.