- Deep Loafe
- The Truth in my Mind. The Truth in Reality.
The Truth in my Mind. The Truth in Reality.
on stories we tell
@succession on giphy
From the top:
Welcome back, friends.
Happy Sunday. Hopefully, you are resting. Whatever that looks like to you.
Read time: depends on your speed of read
Meme theme: Succession (rolling it back because tonight’s the finale 😢 )
See you out there.
We’re all storytellers. As it happens, most of us don’t live the sensationalized version of what entertainment says life looks like, so the stories we tell largely come from pretty normal circumstances.
Good storytellers weave non-fiction and fiction together like an episode of The Bachelor. We live “inspired by true events.”
I don’t know about you, but I find myself licensing this blend of the sensational with the real in my storytelling a lot. Not in major ways often, but in these minor ways that can end up creating an image of myself, for myself, that doesn’t exactly match up with reality. At least not always.
Did you ever know the kid in school who started lots of sentences with things like, “My dad can…” or “My dad is…”? It was always followed up by something that didn’t seem overly absurd - or at least was a real thing - but never did quite feel believable.
Chances are, there was some element of truth, perceived or real, that the kid saw in his dad. “My dad can bench press 500lbs.” It was probably 250lbs. He thought that whatever his dad did or was, was real. And that’s the story he told.
This continues into adulthood, but we start telling these stories about ourselves.
“I mostly only eat vegetables and rice and chicken each night.”
“I’m a pretty on-time person.”
“I work out a lot.”
I think most of us who say things like that are telling a blended story, because no one is always eating that well, or is always on time, or always works out.
But, when we go out into the wild of life - in a world that requires you to be able to describe yourself in a bio (this concept that has gone from a book to 240 characters) - we need to have who and what we are packaged up really neat and tidy.
I noticed this recently when a friend asked me what I write about. I struggle every time to answer this question and I think it’s because I don’t really have an answer right now. I’m still figuring it out. I know in my bones what it is I’m trying to write about - observing my life and then examining it - but I don’t exactly know what it is. Or, at least I don’t have an answer short enough to respect other people’s desire to actually hear me talk about it at any length.
This time, I sort of mumbled some things that gave my inner dialogue enough time to come up with the story version of the actual answer. Here’s roughly what came out:
Here’s the thing. I did that like one time. From now on, unchecked, the Truth in my Mind tells me, “Oh, this is how you write. This is your process. Congratulations on having a process.” Beware of sentences that start with “I typically…”
The Truth in Reality is that I do start thinking about it by Wednesday, but I procrastinate by saying, “Oh don’t you remember? You need these next few days to observe life - yes, do some observing - and then you’ll write about it on Saturday, or maybe even Sunday morning or afternoon.”
The Truth in my Mind and the Truth in Reality do actually have some kind of semblance or even alignment, but they’re not symbiotic. I think this is worth paying attention to.
The great writer and journalist, Joan Didion, published a collection of her non-fiction in 2006 and titled it We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.
That’s always stuck with me. I think it fits perfectly with this need we have - this way we communicate - to understand ourselves and tell others who we believe we are through our stories.
Like so many of my books, I own it but I have not read it. This is because I tell myself, and others, the story that “I am a reader. Yeah, I really like to read.”
And that’s true! I do like to read. In fact, I love to read and I’ve read other Joan Didion books, but I go through heavy phases where I read a few books in a few months and then don’t read another again for 6 months.
Here are a few more stories that I’ve been telling recently that have a relationship between the Mind Truth and the Truth in Reality:
“I’m a hard worker.”
“I run/train a lot.”
“If I had more time I would ___.”
These are true, but not always. They are stories I tell others and I tell them because that’s a lot easier than saying, “I’m a hard worker, but it really depends on what the work is, who I’m doing it for, and what else I’d rather be doing that day.”
My guess is you have stories that you tell that are woven with the fictionalized and non-fictionalized versions.
I think that’s okay.
I also think it’s important to find the thick part of that story and bring as much life to it as much as you can.
They help you live.
Stuff I’ve Been Into
Love this essay. Comes back around to mind every few months.
“The Idea Top in Your Mind” by Paul Graham
Remember Promotion and Relegation from last week? Well, there’s this club, Luton Town FC. They haven’t been in the Premier League since 1992 and after they won promotion in the playoff final yesterday (worth $100+ million), they’re goin’ up! And in the most dramatic way. 3 minutes of glory await you below.
Welp, have a great week. Thanks for reading.