There have been some interesting comments about Fictious Diaries and why it seems to rankle us so.
It seems to be a two part dilemma. Firstly, it is clearly very annoying when the fictious diary is innacurate, despite what Taylor says about it happening in Hollywood or that it being fiction excuses it from being accurate. The general consensus seems to be that this is sloppy work, and inexcusable.
Le Docteur emailed me about his experience of reading Cloudstreet. He came a paragraph where a character finds a New Yorker from 1945 that seemed to be entirely dedicated to Hiroshima. This is a famous edition of New Yorker. And it was published a year after the war finished. 1946. As Le Docteur pointed out, this kind of poor editing inevitably affects the way in which you read something.
Secondly, there is the element of being "lied to" and while, of course, ficiton in general sets about to tell stories and to "manipulate" the reader into feeling the way the writer wants them to feel it becomes something quite different if you think that real lives are involved.
Claire sent me this link about the Kaylee Nicole blog hoax of 2001. This is obviously an extreme example of why creating a fiction and passing it off as fact is a bad thing, but I think it also indicates how easy it would be to get caught up in your own story and characters. It also shows you just how convincing that first person narrative is- we tend to believe it, which is the whole point, for instance, of ghost stories and urban legends. They work because the person telling you "knew the person this happened to".
Of course, the other thing is that I really dislike the other extreme- the overly researched historical fiction where the author's discoveries are set like gleaming jewels in the narrative. You can imagine the author finding out some fabulous piece of trivia that really adds nothing to the narrative but they simply cannot bear to leave it out. So the characters will make some reference to these new-fangled pens that you don't need to refill or comment on a new type of vegetable that has been brought back from a voyage to the Americas. Very irritating, I find.
Kate Taylor has written a novel about Proust- a work of fiction. It includes an imaginary diary written by Proust's mother. This article looks at the problems she encountered as a result of doing this. It reminds me of the negative feedback Drusilla Modjeska received when she included a fictious diary by her own mother in Poppy. People seem to react strongly to the notion of invented diaries. I wonder why?
A 35th Birthday saw us drinking Caipriroshkas and eating smoked salmon pizzas on a Tuesday night, normally such a dull evening. R told me about her experiences in Cambodia, years ago. She was there during the Lunar Festival and watched the rituals of giving presents to the monks.
"The presents were so strange" R said. "An apple, batteries, a handful of sticky-rice, money, all thrown into the same begging bowl. When the bowl was full, the monks would tip the whole lot into a big garbage bag sitting behind them- sticky rice, money, the lot."
"Really?" I said "How weird."
"Yes, it was. Then later we were at the market and all the monks were there with the money, buying a karaoke machine."
What kind of songs would Buddhist monks perform as karaoke, we wondered. All I could think of was "Just a Touch of Paradise."
R's household has an annual party on Valentines Day and it is a very plush affair. Last year they had a kissing booth.
"Are you having the kissing booth again this year?" we asked.
"Yes. And this year it is being video-streamed into the loungeroom."
We look horror-struck. Would anyone really subject themselves to this?
"I have also managed to track down a life-size cardboard cut out of Aragon."
"Son of Arathon?"
"The one and the same. I had to have him sent over from The States. It's costing me 110 dollars but it's worth it."
"Maybe he could be in the kissing booth" someone suggests, hopefully.
"Maybe." says R. "After the party I'm going to hire Aragon out so that people can take him to dinner or whatever."
Marcus sent me this link yesterday:Influences [dive into mark]. Mark Pilgrim looks at the notion of blogs as conversation. saying "it is most definitely people talking at people and not with people. That they occasionally happen to talk back at you.... does not make it a conversation in any traditional sense."
Hmm. Interesting. I'm not entirely sure if I agree although I do agree that there is a lot of ranting that goes on within blogs (but not, I must say, on the ones I read.). It's definitely not a traditional conversation but I do think that people converse through blogs and not just via comments or emails. It's something about the way one writer will pick up on a topic and write about it. Information and ideas are passed around from blog to blog and I suppose I see this as a conversation.
Mark also looks at blog fame and why it is that some people's blogs sky-rocket while most languish in obscurity. And should this matter? Or should us non-famous bloggers take heart in Dave Weinberger's Warholian observation that all blogs are famous to 15 people?
More later, I think.