Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Monday, December 26, 2005

Flat Earth

Several years ago I took a creative writing night class from the University of Maine. It was one of the strangest classes I have ever been in, but that's not my point today. I discovered something about myself by taking that course.
We were required to do three different kinds of writing, non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. I am no poet at all, so I didn't do well at that and I didn't improve much by taking the course. I didn't do well at fiction either. I tend to be inclined to write non-fiction. What I discovered was that it is nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around fiction! I can't tear my mind away from truth long enough to concoct a good story.
Although it was then that I realized the problem, suddenly now I am beginning to see how it is affecting my life and in particular, my blog. When I write, I tend to try to write what I perceive to be the truth. People create fantasy by spinning the truth. I attempt to write without the spin.
There are several ways to spin truth to create fantasy. You can spin truth sexually. Playboys and playgirls and dime-store romance novelists are gifted in that. You can spin truth religiously. Preachers, the Pope, and Satanists are masters of that. You can spin truth politically. Truth with a strong political right spin looks just like what you hear on conservative talk radio. It comes out loaded with fear and hate and masks itself as security while ultimately favoring the wealthy. Truth with a strong political left spin is socialistic. It comes out loaded with taxation and social programs to provide for those who, for whatever reasons, don't provide for themselves. Both political spins identify the opposite spin as an enemy.
I see the challenge in writing non-fiction to be having the ability and the desire to nail one's feet to the floor, to the base, to reality. Political spin is fantasy and it creates a perception of reality that replaces reality itself. The fantasy claims to be reality. Actual reality vanishes for those who wrap their minds in the spin. So the challenge for me is to somehow unspin things, to somehow attempt to describe the reality that lies beneath the fiction, beneath the spinning fantasies.
One thing I recall from my creative writing class is that a writer wishing to be successful needs to write to an audience. In fiction writing, that translates into many different styles of fiction writing. In non-fiction writing it translates into style and topic. In politics, philosophy, and religion it translates into writing with spin. If a political writer wants an audience, the writing needs to have political spin.
But there lies the problem...
Spin creates fantasy from reality. Political spin is fantasy. Reality is what politicians do, but spin is what politicians want us to believe they are doing. There is a huge gap between the two. So if a political writer wants an audience, there has to be spin. The writing has to be fiction. Nobody wants to read about the reality beneath the political fantasies.
Unfortunately, my earth is flat. I just can't seem to get my head into the spin of things. I can't live in the fantasy of it all. My shoes are nailed to the floor and the floor isn't spinning.