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A true story

August 12, 2011 - Karin Elton
I’m writing a story on a family from Lynd who got together this week for a family reunion. I met up with them at the sportmen’s club in Minneota Wednesday because half were leaving that day and the next day I met up with the remaining family members at Camden State Park. So I spent quite a bit of time with them.

As I was leaving I joked to a couple that I had been walking with that I was going to go write their story now and if I didn’t have all the information I needed well, I would just “make it up.” We laughed and the wife replied, “Well, life is fiction.”

It was one of those rare statements in life that someone says that makes you stop and think.

“Life is fiction?”

It is anathema to a (good) reporter to not have all the facts right. They just want the resulting story to be as perfect as possible. Plus they hate GETTING THE PHONE CALL. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but never Lillian. My name is Lucille.”

That’s an actual phone call that I’ve received. I had written an otherwise lovely article about LUCILLE’s volunteerism.

So professionally, I write nonfiction. In my life, I also try to keep as close to the truth as I can, otherwise why bother? It’s just best to tell the truth, I’ve found.

After the woman said what she did about life, I got in my car, but I would have liked to have asked her what she meant by her remark.

“Life is fiction.” I know a lot of what we know as history is inaccurate, but life? Did she mean that we put up a front to the world and never really reveal our true selves? She didn’t say “our lives are fiction,” she said “life is fiction.”

According to the word “fiction” means: “something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story.”

I gotta think about that for awhile.


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