Let me see if I can get this straight. New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, back in ’03, witnessed to some events which at which he was unfortunately not a witness. More recently, Margaret Seltzer, aka Jones, penned a memoir, Love and Consequences, duly published by Riverhead Books and subsequently recalled, but you can buy it on Amazon; it was unfortunately not exactly remembered, since it hadn’t happened. Now we are confronted with a novel, Charm, written by Kendall Hart, who isn’t actually a person, although she is indeed a character in a soap opera, leading to the fascinating scene I guess we’ll all be awaiting in frantic anticipation, when the fictional Kendall shows up for a publishing party on her fictional show, attended by a real person from Hyperion, which is publishing the actual book of fiction. (An eponymous fragrance will go on sale at real Sears stores about the same time all this is taking place.) Truth may still be stranger than fiction, but the two are getting a little hard to dissect. I wonder if Truman Capote considered, before In Cold Blood was spilled upon the land, what the whole ‘creative nonfiction’ business would embolden and encounter? I remember reading In Cold Blood, believing every word, knowing I shouldn’t believe it because Capote wasn’t there to record those conversations and events, thinking it was a fascinating new art form anyway. I hasten not to blame Mr. Capote, or the subsequent devotees of creative nonfiction — good grief, you can even get an M.F.A in Creative Nonfiction from my highly esteemed and still beloved alma mater the University of San Francisco. (Not all my alma maters are still beloved; Randolph-Macon Woman’s College seems to be self-destructing into Randolph College which is neither fictional nor, in my case, lovable.)

Still, Jayson Blair and Margaret Seltzer were certainly creative about their (non)fiction and I don’t even want to think about what new category the fictional author Hart will spawn. Life is curious, and lines blur. My Dying Unafraid is, I promise, true. So is Never in Doubt, though I included in this ‘biographical memoir’ as many caveats as I possibly could about the stories therein being drawn from my father after he passed 80 and long after his lines between fiction and remembered fact were hopelessly blurred. A story is a story, a memoir is only a memoir

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