Fact: Yesterday I went to the Gulf Shores Sate Park Pier.
There is no disputing facts. There is no gray area or in-between when it comes to stating fact. You either are, or you are not dead, married, pregnant, etc. If anyone has reason to dispute a fact, then it is called something else.
Perception: Yesterday I went to the pier and it was awesome. I thought it was awesome. Some people might not appreciate the same things that I do, therefore, would argue that it was not a good day at all.
Those other people, who do not share my perception, probably on many things, would not have taken 30 pictures of the beautiful and abundant pelicans that rested on the rails, kept keen eyes open from atop tall lamp posts, or were just brazen enough to lurk closely to the many fishing poles, waiting to nab a bite of fish. Some people might not have laughed out loud like I did, when a blackbird hungrily dug into a bait bucket, while its owner reeled in a rather small fish (more on that below). Also, I was in awe of the one blue heron who held a stately pose while my camera clicked, trying for the best possible view of the feathered fellow’s fabulous features (that was fun on the tongue, don’t you think?).
So, I’m thinking about writing a memoir. I have, oh, maybe, two pages written. No hurry, now, is there? I have previously written fiction, with the understanding that much of what we read as fiction, actually has happened, or, at least could happen some time, not necessarily to me, but something I have heard or read about. Some fiction just comes from the deep recesses of my mind, which means, I don’t know where in the hell that thought came from. There is almost always some, or a lot, of factual information in my fiction, but it has been dressed up, or down, with color added or taken away.
In other words, fiction writers embellish that which could be true. Memoirists write what they see as true, but from their personal perspective. If two siblings write a memoir about their family’s struggles, it is likely that they will eventually have to confront each other for not having the story right. Too bad. But personal perception/world-view clouds or enhances our sense of events, our memories.
Memoir is the distasteful, ugly truth about immoral discontent and anger, while fiction, or even music, tells the true story of the immoral discontent and anger in a dance, with different shaded and myriad-colored backgrounds, often from multiple perspectives, adding needed characters, or placed in another space and time.
So, go ahead and write your memoir. I will write mine eventually. If we try to keep to the facts, as we know them, then it’s a memoir. Happy writing.
While I was enjoying my afternoon at the pier, I stopped along the way to read some handy-dandy informational posters. One poster had nice pictures of various fish, and focused on the noises that fish make in their environment. They can be noisy. One of the fish that caught my attention was called a croaker, because of the sound it made, usually as a distress signal. So, most, if not all, fish have a swim bladder, which can vibrate a sonar something or other, causing an actual croaking noise, which you can hear through their gills.
I mentioned the smallish fish earlier that caused me to pause as the fisherman hauled it in without much of a hassle. “What kind of fish is it?” I always want to know. “It’s a croaker,” he said.
No way, I thought. I just read about the little bugger on that terribly informational poster on the pier.
He held the little guy’s gills close to my ear (left), and I could, indeed, hear his swim bladder causing that funny sound, by vibrating and somehow connecting to a natural sonar system in his little fish body. I heard the croaker croaking.
Well, then the fish squirmed (not a good choice) and fell from his captor’s hand to the pier where a seagull named Sam promptly swallowed him up. I witnessed the croaker croak, via the sea gull’s long pointy beak. Sad. True. Educational. Quiz: Which of the last three words are likely fact?