A few weeks ago, I finished reading Stephen King's On Writing. I highly (!!!) recommend it; the book was more humorous than I anticipated, illustrating Mr. King's wit and immaculate ability to weave a story. The first half of the book was a memoir of his career as writer, and the second half consisted of advice to aspiring writers. Much of what he had to say was very useful (kill your darlings, nix the thesaurus, and the road to help is paved with adverbs), but what I really took away was his fervent encouragement to tell the truth.
"Fiction is the truth inside the lie."
Of course, nonfiction plays a similar game. Cheryl Strayed says that good creative nonfiction comes with the universal transcends the personal. So these two genres possess one similar objective: find the truth, and then share it like a box of Wheat Thins.
I originally started this blog to have an outlet where I could write and be free to write without working for the opinion of anyone else. I would write simply to write, just as I had as a child on my family's first Windows Desktop. Occasionally there might be a recipe and a travel story. Since then, this blog has transformed into an online profile of sorts, and a place where I practice reporting, photography, and telling stories. But sometimes when I'm only one glass of wine in, I'll lift my hands of the keyboard and pause. Too much? Which leads to a question that maybe other bloggers begin to wonder: "how much truth do I tell???"
Here's the challenge: I think we should tell all of it. Part of the fun is finding creative, beautiful, inspiring ways to share the most human and scary things ever. It's not easy. It's very, very, hard to communicate life's most intimate moments in a way that's not over share. But truth can be communicate in a clause, image, or tune. There are many photographers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who are wildly successful at achieving this, but they find a gentle way of connecting to those universal heartstrings. Simplicity works.
Last week, when I was visiting K1, we spent part of our last day with one another in the town of Spring. I was sad that our time together was nearing an end, especially because it was likely the last time we would be spending with one another for a long while. He had been sick, and I had been a overly-romantic 24-year old, but in the midst of my pouting and his need for cough drops, we found a bookstore bathed in emerald vines and smelling like glue. The selection was impressive, and featured a plethora truth-telling writers. It was melancholic and a little rainy and I was happy that this bookstore existed. We made our way to dinner, and music played as he drove and I read. And then we had margaritas. And the next day we said goodbye and I got a plane and read some more. And then I had scones.
Like a moment of truth or a traditional margarita, scones are simple and good. Unlike some fussy morning baked goods (cough-cough, CROISSANT), scones come together all in one bowl and move all mellow yellow-like to the baking tray. They rise without ego and look a little lumpy. And they go really, really well with a book and a blanket. I made the recipe for a series of "relaxed" foods, for Wanderlust, and the article also includes recipes for rosemary popcorn and boozy blueberry and basil lemonade.
Speaking of truth-telling and Toni Morrison, look how she's killing it over at The New York Times Magazine. Also, my friend Kathryn has recently started a lovely blog about going Zero Waste, and I'm so impressed with her ability to combine language and environmentalism.
Cheers for telling the truth! Fictional George Washington would be proud.