Writing is vexing, on so many levels. I don’t understand all this post modern fuss over genre and grow weary of explaining that I did indeed imagine the story in The Town Slut’s Daughter. Naturally it’s inspired by life experience. Write what you know. Right? Which is all I wrote, which is why it’s authentic. If what I wrote was published as memoir, or creative non-fiction-whatever the hell that is- I would have been crucified, because I made stuff up, yet people refuse to believe my novel isn’t memoir. I can say unequivocally that I am not Fiona and Fiona is not I.
Our hunger for realism, hence the reality show phenomenon, and rise of the documentary fuel such expectations. Pressure. I say this because poet and writer Catherine Owen, whom I admire greatly, reviewed my book bemoaning in the main that I’d chosen to write fiction. Despite confusion over genre I never doubted my instincts, knew I was framing narrative within a novel. Works for me. I understand her yearning for just the facts but my life is not all that interesting, in reality. As Karl Ove Knausgård recently emphasized about his autobiographical novel, My Struggle, “It’s fictional even if it’s nonfictional. It’s not as if I’m trying to document anything. I’m looking for something within that material.” Autobiographical novel also seems a contradiction in terms and I know truth is relative. Let the critics and pundits postulate ad nauseum, I need to focus on process. If you want reality, read my blog. I’m getting good at making my life sound exciting.
Perhaps I am a coward, for I can wear it like a veil, but it is also liberating and I maintain there is more truth in fiction.