Today we will be discussing something that is commonly known as “Creative License”.
First off, I must confess that I haven’t yet read the controversial book “A Million Little Pieces” by Stephen Frey.
Although I do admit that I love both the title and the cover art. What I know of the book is this: Frey got into a heap big trouble for claiming to have done things that I guess he didn’t do. I believe he was outed on Oprah and his previously huge bestseller suddenly became a questionable piece of fiction. Potentially.
I too am a writer. I too take creative license here and there. Some things just sit better phonetically or dramatically. For instance:
I really do have annoyingly loud construction workers outside my window at this very moment, tearing my street to bits and making me crazy with their early morning antics. However, in a previous post I claim that they start their work at 7:30 in the morning. It may really be more like 8, or 8:15. But you know, I was really irritated, and it FELT like 7:30 in the morning. So that’s what came out. I think most people can understand this stretch of the information.
And then there’s my thing with coffee.
Any writer out there should be addicted to coffee. You know, you watch the movies, or the old Alfred Hitchcock shows and it seems that writers, coffee and cigarettes all go merrily hand in hand. And, being a writer type, I love coffee. Although the coffee I drink is usually mochafied, half coffee half hot chocolate. But I dearly love the smell of coffee, both the grounds in the package and the cup wafting its flavor through my olfactory glands. I love the flavor and the warmth and the snuggliness of it.
But really, if I get out my honesty meter, I don’t drink it that often. Coca~Cola is my true addiction, and black tea. Lipton’s. I drink like a pitcher a day. I need the antioxidants as well as the caffeine. So while I’m not actually lying about liking coffee and seriously needing a cup on a regular basis, it’s more often a can of Coke on my table next to my laptop.
But that just doesn’t sound the same. When I’m writing a poem about a rainy day, and the melancholy mood I’m in because it’s cool and overcast and fall (which it’s not, because it’s 80 and summertime here) coffee goes along with the mood and feel of the poem. Coke just doesn’t fit the emotional landscape as well.
So I have this ethical delimma. Or question, really, cause I’m not losing any sleep over this. I like being able to dramatize a situation, and express an anecdote in a slightly exaggerated manner. This is what makes any good writer good; they tell a story. But what exactly is the line between exaggerating, or emphasizing the fantastical elements of a story or situation, and Stephen Freying?