So Sixty Minutes finds Greg Mortensen drank too many cups of tea. Memoir is an interesting genre – nonfiction written in the style of fiction. But don’t get carried away with the fiction part because people will find you out if you make up important stuff. We’re not talking gist of the dialog here or the color of your bedroom, but serious stuff that makes a difference. Like James Frey saying he was involved in a train accident (no) or spent three months in jail (2 days), or Misha Defonseca saying she was sheltered by wolves (not), or Herman Rosenblat’s sweet story of how he met the “angel at the fence” (heavenly fiction). If you’re going to make up stuff to create a better story, call it what it is: fiction based on memoir. Don’t spoil it for the rest of us. Trust is hard to regain.
The internet makes it really tough to hide lies and “embellishments.” Reminds me of sitting on the front step this evening with the neighbor’s cat (you know, the ferocious Pumpkin). Another tanka…
As the dusk settles
Robins chirp from the treetops.
The cat observes all.
His tail switching and eyes sharp,
Nothing hides from his fierce gaze.