Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Truth and Occurrences

Just picked up a book from the library, Mark Sundeen's The Man Who Quit Money. The cover says, "In 2000, Daniel Suelo gave away his life savings. And began to live." I'm intrigued.

I have yet to research Suelo's or Sundeen's reputations. I don't care if the story is true. Well, I care enough to check later, but I'm not reading for facts. Instead, I want truth and that ain't in any book.

People think it should be. That's why the James Frey thing was a big deal to some, especially Oprah. They felt hoodwinked because the story wasn't all fact. I don't know. I never read it. There was no truth there for me even if every word had been factual.

As a teacher, I'm pushed by politicians to teach informational texts, nonfiction more than fiction or, heaven forbid, literature. Politicians think they're education experts because they too went to school for thirteen years. How hard could teaching be? More difficult than they imagine.

Take this nonfiction thing. The stated goal is to get kids college and career ready to read the texts they're going to encounter. This makes informational text supreme. Bullshit. Besides, these texts are no more true than Alice in Wonderland. A lot less so.

The book I'm about to read may or may not be based on occurrence. If so, it's kin to what politicians write. School officials too. Read what is said about the Common Core. There's no basis in fact there, but it's passed off as truth. Or consider President Obama's gorgeous speech the night of the 2008 election. It was poetry and it filled me with truth even though it has turned out to have been almost entirely fiction. These aren't the folks to decide what we should read and write.

The Man Who Quit Money may or may not be based in fact. Whatever. I hope it helps me create in myself a new understanding. Let's call it a truth. I'll take in, slosh it around, and see what happens. I'll hope for and work toward the best.

I read poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and informational texts. Some of it is true and some of it is factual. No one genre is somehow superior to another (though poetry beats the living shit out of everything and anyone who says different eats boogers). The mix is important.

My book title could be: The Man Who Quit Giving A Shit About The Things Politicians Say. What do you think? It could use some polish. I'll keep reading and building truths. And I'll damn sure write on.