Is Truth the Key to Creativity?

"...the secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake (Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power), but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. Is is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules.” - Joan Didion

“…the secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power’s sake (Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power), but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. Is is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one’s own rules.” – Joan Didion

Many writers around the world are faced with a pressing challenge. Creativity. It is a writers main interest to include as much creativity as they possibly can in their stories in the hope that their readers become immersed in the story they tell. But creativity does not come easily to all. Many struggle to find the right way to tell a story in an exciting and innovative fashion. What is the foundation in which creativity is formed? I believe that it is truth.

Joan Didion takes truth to an entirely new level in her works of nonfiction. There are many different terms for the nonfiction Joan writes, such as intimate journalism, literary nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. With this new style of writing, Joan has the ability to not only use the facts that she discovers while interviewing her subjects in her writing, but also to take the dialogue of her subjects. With these weapons added to her arsenal, she uses her own feelings and intentions to create a story that entices readers and allows them to believe that the story they are reading is of the truest nature.

In Joan’s introduction to her collection of short stories that is “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” she states that all writers have a tendency to “sell somebody out.” I believe that although this may happen, writers like Joan Didion do not make it their main motive to sell out their subjects.

When writing literary nonfiction, the writer must discover as much factual information they can about people and the lives they live, via interviewing and doing research. Next is creating the story by adding literary elements to make the story seem both believably realistic, as well as exciting and interesting. A lot of the story that is told has traces of emotion from the writer, since they perceive what they hear in their own personal way, and react to it in whatever way they feel.

We feel this emotion in 7000 Romaine, Los Angeles 38. In Joan Didion’s depiction of the wealthy business tycoon Howard Hughes, there is a general undertone of loneliness. She takes a man that has everything (money, women, and all the luxuries a man could desire) and shows the world the unpopular perspective that is, loneliness.

Discovery is the key to creation. Joan Didion combines fact with creation and showed the world a completely innovative style of writing. Journalism, as well as nonfiction, were forever changed when Didion saw something more in the word “truth.” Her accurately raw essays showed the world of literature that creativity could be found in the most accurate depictions of the people and the their lives.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Is Truth the Key to Creativity?

  1. Interesting–we say that truth is the key to great writing, but where does subjectivity lie? Does every writer have their own version of the truth? Are there certain topics on which an objective truth cannot be established?

  2. This is neat. Though I think “truth” might be a little strong of a word. I think Didion is aware she is hammering complex people, places, and events into a digestible narrative. Her skewed perception of a thing says more about her than it does about where she is, and I think she says as much in her preface. When she says she is “selling someone out” she means she is warping a complex event into a piece of non-fiction that speaks towards her psychoses, her views on pop culture, or something else only tangentially related to what she is “writing about”.

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