Is this true?

The question is «how much of my story is true?» and it is asked every time after David Huddle gives a public reading. He thinks this is a naive question, but he also has a deep interest in the answer; not only when the question is made for him, but also when he asks this question to someone else. He admits that part of his reading pleasure comes from guessing about the personal experience upon which the author probably has based parts of his story.

When David Huddle starts to write a story, he usually bases it on something he had lived through, but as he is writing it, he quickly forget what actually happened. The limit between truth and imagination starts to shade. As he tells us «my memory of the truth of what happened has been clouded by my many alterations of it.»

He wishes he had had a chance to chat with some famous writers to ask them about passages from their books, what had been their personal experience and learn «a great deal about the mix of memory, imagination, language, and epistemology in the individual writer’s composition process.»

He also has writing colleagues who don’t like to be asked about the truth of their stories. He explains this point as if the author admits that the story is completely true, the audience feels that there wasn’t much to be writing. On the other hand, if the author admits the story is entirely imagined, the audience feels that there’s really not much to that writing.

What he really thinks about this contradiction is that what matters is «the quality of the story, not which brain cell produced it.»

I agree with the author, when he tells about the limit between truth and imagination, when you write a story. Each life experience is very personal and it can happen to more than only one person, that still it will be felt in different ways.

Writing a story is to use our personal experience as a base, and to change it as we desire to build stronger characters in a way that everyone has, at least, a little bit of themselves.

MPV – outubro 1990 – UCSD – Report based on the article “How much of my story is true? That’s a terrific question” written by David Huddle, published on New York Times Book Review, on october 7, 1990.

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