Paul Scott Leinhaas
  • Male
  • Westerly, RI
  • United States
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What do you do?
Writer
What school did you attend?
Virginia Commonwealth University and grad at Smith College
What is your hometown?
Westerly, RI
What are some of your interests?
Music, Writing, Reading, Animals, Outdoors, Spirituality, Politics, Food, Photography

Truth and fiction, some thoughts

The highest calling in writing brings us face to face with the experience of and expression of truth.  You can tell the truth, yet the only way to get to that truth is through our affective and cognitive censors, which will numb us out in a heartbeat if our sense of security feels insecure or threatened; then the tales we weave.  

Often our feelings tangle the truth in distortion and highly charged emotional states that reality, even the most carefully prepared assessments and reports, cannot begin to approach without fictional metaphors or examples.  Too much detail or horror overwhelms the nervous system's capacity to handle truth with any effectiveness without tremendous focus, purpose and agency or denial and dissociation, to the point of a detachment from reality, or psychosis.  

The truth of such an experience may take a lifetime to come to terms with or we may get the truth immediately, yet have no way to communicate that truth to others.  Fiction makes truth accessable, palatable and digestable and if really good or we get really lucky, the person gets what happens so well they feel a life affirming, perhaps, as a friend of mine told me today about her experience of acting in a musical dramatic chorale play, her "experience felt life changing".  No single form has a monopoly on the expression of truth.  To look at writing fiction as a singularity, science fiction and romance would seem to have little in common, yet their universality finds expression in both forms, however different the writing subject.  We can appreciate values of truth in our lives that come from the stories of our lives, our wishes, failures, successes that we alone share for lack of a means to translate in such a way that others can understand or appreciate. Not everyone can tell a story.  Very few tell a story well.  

Mostly, we unite around shared experiences for our imagination: television, movies, fiction writers, visual and performance artists, including storytellers, music, theater, so many creative forms of expression.  In that way cultural and universal truths get spread around, as well as questioned and examined.  Imaginative, fictional expression holds an essential place in our lives.  

Paul S. Leinhaas

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