I found the perfect home office. I was absorbed. And she stopped and then said out loud everything I was thinking. I even took a picture.
This morning I read a great essay by Herbert Gold asking “What’s the difference between a lie and a short story?” My children have asked me that. I’ve pondered that. We put a very strong emphasis on honesty in our home. It is, perhaps, the single most important character trait to us. We don’t like fake and we don’t like lies. So how is that I can write fiction? That we can enjoy good movies? I was very pleased with Mr. Gold’s reasoning.
In short, he said that a short story is a lie that teaches you about the world. It isn’t for gain, isn’t for avoiding what’s due. It’s a tale that people want to listen to. It’s a lie that different than a dream. He humorously suggested that the number one reason for divorce in our country is the recitation of the previous night’s dreams at the breakfast table. Who cares? His point was simply that a well told story is a fiction that we can relate to. We can put ourselves in it and we can find out about ourselves. He went further and said that for him, when reading about divorce or alcoholism – things he’s experienced – the story become cathartic for him. A chance to commune with the characters and find a bit more peace in his own life.
Maybe that’s why I love “The Wedding Singer”, “Notting Hill”, and “Music and Lyrics.”