Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is it real or did you make it up?

Accademia Bridge, Santa Maria della Salute, 8AM

There are twenty-six stairs up, and down, fifty-two total, to cross the stone bridge at the Arsenale. There are 52 up and 52 down on the Accademia Bridge, total 104. This does not particularly matter to me, but it matters to a character I am writing. I could have pulled a number out of my ass, but someone would know. So I took the No. 1 to Arsenale and counted.

Fiction is a variable balance between reality and imagination. Different writers rely more heavily on one or the other.

Here's how I formulated it for myself the other night. Use reality where necessary and imagination where necessary, depending on which makes a better story. Never be limited by the truth; never yield gratuitously to the imagination.

Proust, who was rich enough to publish his own masterwork and mad enough to understand the enormity of his achievement, laid bare the contradiction between the two and worked its dialectic from every angle. The result is genius; the product of a singular set of circumstances, something never to be repeated. But he set the bar very high, and most memoirs contain nowhere near the volume of truth as Proust's fiction.

So it is a pleasure to blend, like an alchemist, what seems to be memory, with what seems to be imagination (both being very approximate and difficult to quantify), and create something unique from them, transforming the base metals into gold.

Quantum physics proved how the act of observing something changes it. The act of remembering also changes reality, as the does the act of imagining. In the end, the real is more or less a composite of an infinite number of simultaneous points of view, vide "Rashomon." Nothing is ever real except the present moment, and there is very real reason to question whether anything else exists.

Strange as it may seem, that makes perfect sense to me...

The images are merely an excuse for thinking aloud... Santa Maria della Salute at 8am, when the sun is rising over the lagoon, and at 8 pm, when the sun is setting over the mainland.

Santa Maria della Salute from Accademia Bridge, 8pm

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