I’ve slept in until nine am each morning for no other reason but I can. I am not a late sleeper, I am usually up and about, but I think my mind is processing. There is so much thrown at us at a conference, okay, not thrown, served up in delicious bites and set before us until we are so sated with inspiration, promise, hope, joy, guilt, process and objectives that we can barely move.
From first keynote with Drew Daywalt to last with the extraordinary Richard Peck, the keynotes and breakouts were amazingly full, there was the opportunity to take of at least one nugget from each. From nonfiction/fiction mashups to educational landscape to voice as structure to sourdough starter as a metaphor for creativity to market trends and opportunities. My conference notes are a mish-mash of words, phrases, dictums, adages, recommendations, suggestions, and other writer’s and illustrator’s struggles with exactly what I am going through.
Is this a good idea? What is the basic premise? Can I find it? Can I sustain this thread/premise/throughline for fifty thousand words? Is this salable? Really? What makes my story standout? Is my character’s voice believable? Realistic? True?
There you go! True! Out of all of the presentations and conversations both engaged and overheard, what I heard was we must be true. Unsaid but there is that we exist around so much spin, in the news, in the papers, on blogs, on social media.
SPIN is the explanation what happened by distorting reality. SPIN is the trying to make what occurred palatable. SPIN is the reality of a ‘little white lie’ or a grievous mortal sin that becomes that dark spot in the middle of your soul. We have come to accept spin as a part of our daily lives. Our children are growing up with spin as a overlay– of life, politics, culture, economics, religion, ethics–EVERYTHING. SPIN cripples fact. SPIN interferes with paradigms. SPIN validates confirmation bias. SPIN distorts our conversations and SPIN devastatingly mars the truth.
The question is can we strip away that SPIN? Are we as creative content providers [yuck, what a term] required to find that center, that place where there is no spin, where there is no lie, where there is only what is?
When I was in college we used to sit around and philosophize about truth. We were young. We thought that our truths were accessible and realistic. We believed in universal truths. It is a different world. And so I wonder about that now. I wonder if truth is a commodity, a perception or another spin.
I think what we need, what we crave, like a perfectly seasoned steak, or wonderfully roasted asparagus, or the delicate sensation of dark chocolate, is the search for TRUTH. We need to accept that our character’s emotions, wants, needs, desires are nothing but propaganda IF the character is not always searching for the way to come out of the story whole, intact emotionally, not necessarily with their wants/desires satisfied, but accessible to the reader–a good ending, a finish to the story.
It was a great conference. It made me think. It made me worry more about my characters. It made me want to be the best storyteller of truth I could possibly be!