Prior to the Great System Crash of 2008 (See Back from the Dead for details), I used to categorize my blog posts. I had reminiscence posts. I had poetry posts. I had fiction posts. I had a category called “misc.” I’m not sure what purpose a “misc” category was supposed to serve, but I had one anyway. All in all, the “fiction” category was the one that gave me the most trouble.
The line between fiction and non-fiction is not as clear as one might think. There is the kind of truth that a person is supposed to tell while under oath: purely factual, unembellished, devoid of opinion, and dull as dirt. It doesn’t tell a whole story and it was never intended to. It’s sole purpose is to give juries facts to chew on before they vote their emotions and preconceptions anyway.
So a little embellishment is to be expected even in a true story, but how much? For example, it’s allowed to have composites of non-central characters and events without crossing the line into fiction. Some movie marketing makes an end-run claim to truth when it says the film is “inspired by actual events.” It is important to remember that by this logic, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure would qualify as a documentary.
I’ve never claimed that anything in Poison Spur was inspired by actual events because when it comes right down to it, everything is so the phrase means nothing. Of course some material in the blog is truer than others. I ultimately gave up labeling some work as fiction because I told myself I didn’t need to. I figured my readers (all 30 or so of you) would know when I’ve been making stuff up. After all, you’re not a bunch of idiots, right?
I mulled the idea of reviewing my blog and assigning the category fiction or non-fiction to each entry. That certainly would clear up any confusion, but as I said before, where to draw that line is a bit arbitrary. An invented sibling is clearly in the realm of fiction, but what about those accounts of nights at the Argus where some details had to be invented to replace the memories that drowned in my whiskey glass? Ultimately, I decided not to bother. I think I made the right choice.
In conclusion, I would like this blog entry to serve as a disclaimer. Please assume everything I write here, going forward as well as in the past, is a complete load of hooey. Or if that takes the fun out of things, feel free to believe what I write is inspired by actual events. That’s true enough, I suppose.