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3QR Author Note: CHARLES TALKOFF

Finding Fiction out of Fact: I do not remember where I read the line (or who said it though doubtless it was a smart writer of one kind or another) but apparently someone figured out you should be able to make an Odyssey out of your daily newspaper. True enough, I think, only I would add that given the amount of fiction in a newspaper, a writer’s got stiff competition when performing the alchemy of transforming one into the other. What does one do? You make things up. You’ve observed well for a long time and you’ve learned how to remember so when they ask you about the guy with the thing who had the job in what-cha-ma-call-it where the stuff happened you remember the guy with the big yellow hat and the car with a chrome fender that reflected liquid sun and you add the details from when you were one place and saw something you learned was true everywhere and what you write is an outright lie except for every detail which is irrefutably true and it’s so true that people say hey I know that guy and that’s exactly what he was like wearing that big yellow hat and damn proud of the shine that flashed off that car.

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