Saturday, September 06, 2008
Isabel Allende's Tales of Passion
Oh, how I love this woman...
I ran a course last year based around her book on food and love, Aphrodite. It was fantastic to plan the exercises and I think we all enjoyed it. I will remember forever one student's brilliantly funny description of a 'First Orgasm Party' as a highlight of my teaching career. Mind you, Divorce Soup was also memorable, if more bitter a taste!
I like this particular answer she gives to a question too:
Q. Could you elaborate on the idea of writing fiction, of telling a truth, of telling lies, of uncovering some kind of reality, and of how these ideas might work together or against each other?
A. The first lie of fiction is that the author gives some order to the chaos of life: chronological order, or whatever order the author chooses. As a writer, you select some part of a whole; you decide that those things are important and the rest is not. And you will write about those things from your perspective. Life is not that way. Everything happens simultaneously, in a chaotic way, and you don't make choices. You are not the boss; life is the boss. So when you accept as a writer that fiction is lying, then you become free; you can do anything. Then you start walking in circles. The larger the circle, the more truth you can get. The wider the horizon, the more you walk, the more you linger in everything, the better chance you have of finding particles of truth.
I wonder if the question of truth and fiction ever stops bothering a writer? And if there is a writer around who wasn't told to 'stop that storytelling' at least once when they were a kid?
This work by Sarah Salway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.