Mary Magagna

I do not write verité. factual truth can be boring in my hands. even when I use the pronoun, “I,” it is a fiction, a self extended and not contained by the geography of time, place and memory. I don’t know what’s real; I’ve been making up stories for so long I get a bit confused, even when asked how I’m doing. that’s why I avoid parties. my inclination to fictionalize comes right on the heels of occurrence. at a party this has wracked my nerves. writing is a dangerous business.

it is the caprice involved in writing that I love, the unfaithful alliance between truth and not truth. personally this caprice seems to me broader than mere human capacity to practice it. I think god thinks we’re funny. you may as well know that what you sense isn’t what is and what you invent isn’t either. it gives you some control.

actually where I work I strive to be honest. it taxes me but I do it for the discipline. and in relation to friends and lovers I strive to honestly convey my emotions. this involves over-simplification as I can’t imagine loving someone I didn’t dislike. art doesn’t flourish from over-simplification but human relationships seem to.

I do not mean to be facetious. I, too, know how starving is a serious complication of birth. but my father was a prankster, good and evil, and my mother was religious. they bore me in their retirement years when work made none of its honest demands on them. I am a product of their charity.

the exact location of my home has never been known to me. I say this with less and less rancor as time goes on as, like my kind, I am reconciling with being always more immigrant than native. there are times, however, in Wyoming, when it is dusk and the beaver circumnavigates the water and the trout leaps through the indolent circles and the willow exudes its peculiar odor, that I know I am home. here I bring the spirits and echoes of my predecessors and here they rest. in other places they claw at me and we fight; then the dark is a fearsome place I do not like to enter alone. but here we let age settle on us and welcome the fading light. I can not stay here long or I would die.

good writing shouldn’t let you rest or tell you what to do.