I’ve written memoirs, personal essays, and fiction, and in none of those genres is verifiable accuracy my primary goal, as it is in journalism. In essays and especially memoirs, however, I try to be conscious of and guide the reader among the levels of accuracy (ranging from verifiable fact to conjecture) that can arise from […]
Is there a clear definition between fiction and reality? I’d argue there isn’t. We spend an enormous amount of our lives asleep, ostensibly dreaming. Some of my dreams are as real to me as anything that’s happened in real life. I have recurring dreams that cycle back like a comet every decade or so. In […]
Poetry, for me, is the most honest form of lying. It operates in the realm of three-quarters true. Details change to suit meter or rhyme, to compensate for a flawed memory, and to bridge the gap between an experience and its significance. Sometimes this significance is apparent almost immediately, but more often it takes months […]
When I approach the blank page, I want The Muse to enter from all sides. No closed doors. That’s what 3QR offers: openness, as well as the writer’s ability to write from the literal and emotional Truth—without ever wondering whether or not she has crossed a “forbidden” and incredibly hazy literary line.
Usually, I am jolted into thinking about a story. For “Lost,” that is exactly what happened as I retraced my steps, looking for my watch. I started writing the story that day, my dad’s birthday, March 30, 2011. Walking on the asphalt of the employee’s parking lot, I kept thinking that it was just a […]
More than one person who reads my fiction has asked me how much of it is true. I’ve also had a few with the nerve to ask the same thing about my nonfiction. The truth is, much of my writing falls into that gray area between fiction and nonfiction. I draw my material from my […]
The U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba–its history and nature, and the public perception of it–readily lends itself to the blurring of lines between fact and fiction. It is truly a place of fragmented and crucial moments in time, which I tried to reflect in this poem.
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe would have been perfect for a 3QR table of contents—if 3QR had existed when he wrote it. Defoe had fictionalized the story of a true castaway, Alexander Selkirk, and in doing so gave us the internal world of his journal-writing, if ever-practical, fictional character. One of my favorite poems, Elizabeth Bishop’s […]
AUTHOR NOTE Whenever I write, I think about the great Japanese film Rashomon. Four people recreate different scenarios of the murder of a samurai: the samurai’s wife, a priest, a brigand, and the murdered samurai (talking through a medium). It left me wondering whose truth to believe. The film makes clear that every piece of […]
“There is a Season” is something I had been writing, off and on, for a long time. I had written a few of the essays and didn’t know exactly what the final product was going to be—long, short, personal essay, fiction? I knew one of them had to be from early in my life, if […]