On his show recently, Bill Moyer asked an author why he chose to write fiction instead of non-fiction. The author replied he felt he could uncover truth better with fiction. Of course, I agree and have written on this subject before. When a writer is looking for truth in the everyday world, he has two sets of tools. I’ll call them research or investigation. Research looks to the past to learn what others have done or written. Investigation considers not only the known but the unknown. In the latter case, sometimes reality is probed up close, as through a microscope, or from a distance, as through a telescope. Each strategy seeks a different perspective to broaden our understanding of ourselves and the planet upon which we live.
In sum, the world of non-fiction, like much of science, involves empirical examination. Where science is concerned, mathematics is an exception and more akin to fiction as both exist in the realm of concept. Investigations through each know no limitations except what the mind fails to conceive. Mathematics and fiction are mind games where only one law governs: one must seek enlightenment to bring back to the “home planet.”
My latest novel, Trompe l’Oeil is full of mind games. And without meaning to spoil the plot for anyone who might read it, I admit the ending will come as a shock. That is as it should be. A work of fiction which can be put away and never thought of again provides no insight to its audience and therefore no truth.
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