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Barbara Clough

Blending the boundaries

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In A803, I am reading about blending the boundaries of how one writes. As a historian, I learned long ago that facts are well, not always factual. There's the oft-quoted comment that history is written by the victor, which is true. But it's also the choice of what constitutes a 'fact'. One of the worst and most unreliable pieces of evidence is eye-witness testimony. I talk to my siblings and their memories of the same event is significantly different from mine, and their interpretation is even further away than what was seen, heard or felt. 

I remember my sister saying to me she never even wanted to take the clarinet in high school, but dad played clarinet so she took clarinet. I took clarinet as well but precisely because it was something I could share with my father. 

A friend of mine who turned 80 this year has been taking a memoir writing class throughout the pandemic. She sent a piece out to her four surviving siblings, all of whom came back with both a slightly different story about the same event and basically told her that what she wrote is not what really happened. I told her that it was "her" happening - that's all that mattered. So when one talks about bending genres, creative nonfiction or even nonfiction writing of any kind is always bending genres, crossing boundaries, erasing boundaries. It's all mutable. All of it. 

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