“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”
— Pablo Picasso
Writing fiction, there is no escaping the lies.
Writing erotica, I am constantly faced with the profound disappointment people feel when I tell them that there is not a word of truth in my stories, except the truth that underlies my tales, the truth of human relationships revealed in wholly made-up stories. People want erotica to be true. The pleas are desperate at time. “Please tell me this is a true story.”
The names have been changed to protect the colossal perverts.
But the truth is, true stories make terrible fiction. I’ve done more than my share of journal writing, putting down every sordid detail of some midnight rendezvous. There is a certain amount of fun in it. But not a word of it goes into my fiction. Details and ideas are stolen from reality. But the truth of a story never derives from reality. Truth comes from understanding.
I will admit, however, that I have sometimes assured an agonized fan that a story is true, to satisfy their intense need to believe that some unlikely scenario did, in fact, happen. Another layer of story telling, perhaps, is created by providing a fiction about the fiction. I never want to do it, but they seem to need it so bad.
Fiction writing is strange business; Telling the truth by telling lies.