What is truth? Is truth a fact? I can look at my car and say there are four tires. That is a fact. I can look at my car and say it’s red. That is a fact. Or is it? Another person could look at my car and say that it is burgundy. Is burgundy red? Some would say yes and some would say no. So then, what is the true color of my car?
Truth really is a grey area. Recently I attended a writer’s workshop at Grub Street Boston about breaking the rules in non-fiction and a great discussion formed around this topic. At one point the instructor gave us an example of an author that took the liberty to change the number of heart attacks that happened during a particular time, in a particular state, and also the name of a bar in a journalistic piece. The author’s reasoning was that the number four sounded better than eight and Bucket of Blood, as a bar name, was cooler than the actual name of the bar.
Interestingly there was a student in the class that was fine with the number change but thought changing the name of the bar was outright wrong. I felt the opposite. Changing the name of the bar was fine to me but changing a statistical number was appalling to me. I found our contradicting views fascinating. Neither one of us was right nor wrong, we just had different perspectives based on our experiences with the world. Continue reading “Is Truth in Non-Fiction Really Just Perception? by Jen Smith”