I ask a writer to add a scene so I better understand a character. He invents a scene that blows me away. It feels so real that I privately think it’s autobiographical. Of course I don’t ask because that would be a) naive b) uncouth and c) uncool. Why does my mind jump there? How much of fiction is autobiographical? Why do we read made up stories? Are we children? Why do we hope to extract truth from fiction? Can you write anything that doesn’t come from your own experience, even in that abstractified, personalized, emotional, autumnal way? Robots, vampires, gullions, wasps. C’est moi. On the 5:40 train this morning, from New Haven to New York, a woman named Laura said over and over, “Mom, we will mail the check to Gordon on Friday. Yes, by mail. Yes, mother. This is Laura. I’m going to the city. I wrote it on the calendar. We will mail the check, yes, mail.”
Is is true? Does it matter?
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