A while ago I watched a lecture via the Academy of Achievement by Nora Ephron. I loved the fact she talked about how everyone has a different perspective on any event or happening in time which in a nutshell can make a factual experience become somehow fictional.
For example, you and I might be standing side by side, see a car crash happen from exactly the same angle but when it comes to the retelling, we are bound to experience differences in how we saw things happen and how our brains evaluate the cause, the crash and the outcome.
A great way to see how stories develop is when you have a family get together and recall certain events. My brother and I were reminiscing over an incident only the other day. I remembered it that we’d hovered by the kitchen tap when my mum was about to water the garden with the hose. She’d recently had her hair done. My recall was that we turned the water off to make her look down the hose and then turned it back on when she looked down it. My brother corrected me that we’d draped the hose over the fence and just turned it on as she was passing.
It’s a simple example and in truth, if we asked my sister about it, she’d probably either have a different memory of it or it would be similar either to mine or his. The outcome we agreed on. Our mother was furious, her hairdo was ruined and my brother and sister were made to sit at the table and do their homework in silence while I watched because I was too young to have homework.
This is how stories develop and fictionalise by some strange twist in memory. Unless you have a photographic memory, it is likely you will remember events differently to someone else.
Another thing I’ve noticed, not only in myself but in others is how it is possible to ‘add bits on’ to any factual story each time you tell it. Either because you remember something extra or because it sounds more fun, more amusing or more dramatic if you do it.
That’s what I love about writing, you don’t have to have a fact, you can make things up from scratch and make them as dramatic, funny, sad or crazy as you wish.
Do you have a factual story that somehow became fictionalised or exaggerated over time? Please share!