I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of truth. As in what’s the actual truth of something, or what is ‘the truth’ we so often like to refer to in our daily lives? Perhaps it’s the philosophical slant in me inculcated through the French educational system (shouts to my high school Philosophy teacher).
With regards to the book, the idea of the truth is of course something I’ve also been preoccupied with. There’s the factual truth: when did something happen? There’s the personal truths: who remembers what and how? There’s the greater truths, about history, society, art. We all remember things the way we want, and I’ve no illusion that many of the stories I’ve collected are in many ways likely to differ from what actually happen – be it a point of view, a thing that was said, a precise time or place. That’s not important, it’s part and parcel of who we are, and it’s something I’m also subject to in my own recollections of important happenings that shaped my desire to do this.
I am writing this book because, before anything else, I want to. I’m writing this book because I am a fan. Why else would I have spent the past seven years working on it on and off? Why else would I have invested over 5,000 pounds of my own money in the past year to travel carrying my PNW packable backpack and meet people, hear their stories, experience their surroundings?
The so-called truth isn’t necessarily what I’m concerned with. I’m concerned with history more than that. So I’m driven by fandom first, and a desire to be a historian of sorts second. I’ll put my hand up to that anytime.
Thing is, history is written by the winners most of the time. So I can’t ignore the fact that not only are the truths I’m collecting subject to various filters and ‘failings’, but the history I’m trying to record is also subject to various influences – my own fandom being perhaps the biggest, and most dangerous, of them.
I was speaking to Illum Sphere at the weekend, for an ongoing series of chats that will be part of the book. While talking he put the whole truth idea to me in a way that I’ve come to realise best summarises it:
Somewhere in the middle of all these stories, all these memories, lies the so-called truth.
The quote is written from memory, as I haven’t transcribed the chat yet (and in fact I’m only 90% sure it was Ryan who said this to me, but hey, the point remains).
Cue X-Files music…
UPDATE: Also this from Poirier
@laurent_fintoni “History tends to remember the people who are the most articulate.” – Geeta Dayal
— Poirier – Pwa-Ri-Ay (@PoirierSound) November 29, 2013