All Stories Are Bullshit (a love letter)
by P. Braithwaite
I don’t believe in stories. I know, I know, that’s a strange thing for a writer to say, but it’s not a wholly radical thought. Grace Paley said any story told more than twice is fiction.
Stories are false. First of all they are contrived, but even writing a “true” story is much like looking out the window: there are constraints, artificial limits to your view. There’s a false sense of boundary — a beginning, middle and end. There’s a sense of completion that doesn’t ring true. Pure stories don’t stop, not even for the dead.
This idea, the limitation of story, isn’t new for me. Over the summer, I became obsessed with footnoting fiction– every line had a footnote that led to another story, but as I’ve attempted to write this memoir, it has become glaringly apparent that stories are slippery little buggers. Why?
Because I am imposing false elements, not on fiction, on a life. Did my story truly begin the moment I broke up with the Christian? Does it end when I find my soulmate?
Where my story ended, several others continued. For some, my climax was a new beginning. Can you see how this all gets confusing?
No memoir is an island…supporting characters aren’t as obedient as the ones that I create in my fiction. So what do you do when these thoughts clog your mind? You write 500 prefaces, you read to keep from writing, and you live everyday like a character in a novel…
Hopefully, this writer’s block passes and everything falls into place.