Thursday, September 16, 2010

Truth or Consequences

1. Scam Artists

I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me a story about his mother . . .

His mother, always a frugal, hard-working woman, is getting older, and at some point (he doesn’t know when it started), she started to lose touch with reality. The first symptom?

She started writing checks out to strangers. In a matter of months she went through $60,000. She would write checks for hundreds of dollars and mail them off to scam artists, and then wait for her million dollar check to arrive in the mail.

How long would she wait? I asked.

Oh, he said, she’s still waiting. Sometimes they even call her and tell her the check is the mail. Once when he was visiting, someone phoned to say they were in the neighborhood. They would arrive at her doorstep in a matter of minutes.

And she always believes them?

Yes! Sometimes a check does arrive. She takes it to the bank and tries to cash it. Of course it isn’t a real check.

Now my friend is her guardian. His mother is livid. It’s my money, she insists. I worked hard for it, and I can do with it as I please.

She also says those men who call her to tell her the check is coming are so nice. You have no idea how nice they are.

2. Writers

Another friend, Mary, is an aspiring author of creative nonfiction. She’s always asking me how much of her essays can be creative, and how much nonfiction. What is the balance?

Ever since James Frey’s fiasco with Oprah, writers have been worried about the line between fact and fiction.

I suggested she call it fiction, and say whatever she wants, but she says she doesn’t know how to create a story, make up a plot. Life, she says, lacks plot.

But isn’t that where the creativity comes in? I ask. You have to shape whatever life you’ve experienced into a little boat people want to sail around in for a while.

Maybe, she says. Maybe that’s why I can’t publish my work. I can’t make up a story that sells.

Do you think truth is dull? she asks.

3. The Media

Why is it that writers of memoir and fiction worry more about the truth these days when the media and the advertisers seem to care less and less?

4. Climate Change

I read this morning on that now all the GOP senators deny global warming.

It’s not a story that wins elections.

Yes, the last GOP senator to admit the simple truth, that climate change is real,was beaten by Christine O’ Donnell.

O’Donnell who speaks out not only against climate change legislation but also against masturbation.

Masturbation, she seems to be saying, is against God’s will.

I can’t help picturing it. With all the problems in the world, God is not worried one bit about the consequences of climate change. Floods, famine, war, hurricanes, etc..

Instead God is peeping into your windows at night . . .


Lyle Daggett said...

Yeah, and I'm betting She finds it pretty amusing...

Casey said...

I wanted to tell you that you're a huge inspiration to me. I'm a college student taking a beginning literature class and we were tasked with finding a poem and bringing it into class to share. Most of my peers grabbed whatever they found out of a textbook; Dickinson, Frost, etc. I wanted something that spoke to me. I scoured the web for days, agonizing over the right decision. I wanted a poem that would truly reflect me (or at least my feelings). I felt that randomly picking a poem would be a sort of false representation of myself. I then stumbled upon "Something Else." I was proud to recite that poem.

I haven't written anything myself in years; I'm such a perfectionist I feel that if I do something I'd better do it all the way or not at all (see above regarding picking a poem). You've inspired me to try and reach inside myself and pluck memories out to write down on paper. I lost my grandfather and there are things I just don't want to forget.

Thank you, Nin. I am truly indebted to you.

Casey Ritchey
Denver, Colorado

Nin Andrews said...

Thanks so much, Casey. That means a lot to me. Good luck with your own writing!