“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” —William James
And who isn’t wise enough to gloss over a few things when we tell our stories? Ah, but where is the line between applying a little wisdom and telling a story that never happened?
I will confess that I loved the movie Julie and Julia, about Julia Child and a cooking blog by Julie Powell. I liked the idea that the movie was based on real events. That doesn’t mean that I expected every single detail to be true. That never happens. My husband and I can come home from the same dinner party and remember the evening entirely differently. Everything we do is colored by memory, expectation, our differing feelings and experiences. Not to mention whatever wisdom we’ve applied to the things we’d rather not recall. Nevertheless, when I picked up the book Julie and Julia and read the disclaimer that parts of the book had been fictionalized, I put it down again. As a reader, I didn’t want to wonder which parts.
The following article from thedailybeast.com argues that some true stories are better as fiction. I agree. I also like memoir. Mostly I want them to be clearly one or the other. However, wisdom aside, even that may not be as easy as it sounds. See what you think . . .