Part 2 – Fiction versus nonfiction
My husband thinks I lie to people. We were still dating the first time he talked to me about this problem he thinks I have. I remember it very clearly, it was after a party one night, we had gone back to my place, I had taken off my coat, he had kept his on. I already knew he was upset. “You told Claudia that I called you fifteen times to remind you about the party, I only called three times, three is very different than fifteen.”
I was puzzled.“ Yes it was only three.” I said slowly, “ It seemed like fifteen but it was only three.” My voice was absolutely neutral. I had not been aware of any reason that he had to be upset, but if I had to pick one I would never have come up with this. I was sort of relieved except that my reply seemed to make him even more upset.
He was actually pacing back and forth. He stopped across the room from me. “ You lied to her.” he said, “ and you made me look foolish in front of my friends.”
I was shocked I went over to him, he looked so wounded. I put my head on his shoulder. “ Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make fun of you, but Claudia knows you didn’t call me fifteen times. I wasn’t lying, I was exaggerating, I was trying to make our life sound more interesting, I was being entertaining.”
We have had this very same discussion, much less emotionally, many times over the ten years we have been together. In the first few years he even attempted to break me of the “habit” using logic. I have tried to explain my behavior to him in different ways always hoping for a breakthrough. I’m not sure even now that he believes me.
You see my husband is an engineer, before he met me he had no idea what a storyteller was or what stories are made of.
When you ask my husband what the weather will be like tomorrow, be prepared to wait until he has the latest information from at least one website, but possibly two, he may also tell you his estimation of the accuracy rate of the websites he is quoting, because he has been checking the weather hourly all the previous the day and noted how far off they were from the actual weather at our house.
For his sake please take into account that the preceding paragraph has been written with a certain amount of exaggeration… but not much.
I believe we are all to a large degree, fictional characters. No one has any real facts about anyone, and what are facts in relation to truth anyway. This is the theory upon which I conduct my life. The world is essentially unknowable, so I might as well make my part of it sound interesting. I believe in Fiction.
Non-fiction is just a variety of fiction that tells bigger lies about itself because they believe their own stories. I love watching the science channel programs where they all declare that they know how the universe got started. I pay special attention to the part where they remember to call everything a theory. I want to note right here that I love science and that bible study groups are a great deal less honest in that they won’t admit that a book that has been edited many times and is obviously very entertaining in parts, to be a work of fiction. Of course using my definition of non-fiction the bible is one book that really fits it, but religion is such a fascinating topic. I think everyone should write a bible.
If my husband wrote a bible it would be very thoroughly researched like the article he’s contemplating on the comparative merits of the various smartphone operating systems.
The opening would have to include all known opinions about creation, possibly a statistical analysis of the likelihood of each being true based upon current scientific data.
My bible would be much like the one currently in use, but I would cut out the boring parts and update the apocalyptic visions, say the world ending with Jesus coming back in a spaceship or warping all the saved into a parallel dimension; perhaps all the liars and storytellers would be left behind, That would be ironic. Think of the parables. If heaven is for non-fiction only, Jesus wouldn’t make it in.