For a college class I had to read Dave Eggers’ You Shall Know Our Velocity! a story about a young bro who comes into money. He thinks that if he keeps it, he’ll be burdened by it, so he and his best buddy take a trip around the world to give the money away.
My classmates complained, “But how can we believe the characters’ reactions? This is fiction! So what’s the point?” I agreed. But now that I’m older, I realize that the fictional nature of the story isn’t important. All that matters is that it is a story.
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This morning I listened to the new Beach House album Bloom. One of the album’s best aspects is its epic production. Cymbals swell before choruses, vocals soar through reverb, and the repeated guitar lines lure you into a trance/make you think about things other than the song. Beneath these sonic elements lies a drum machine, which got me thinking: which parts of this album are actual instruments? Which parts are midi/drum machines/samples?
It doesn’t matter.
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I bought a book called Nerve: The First Ten Years a compilation of the best articles and photography from “the web’s most intelligent forum for erotica,” Nerve.com. The book is subtitled “Essays, Interviews, Fiction and Photography.” In the book the articles are never labeled as fiction or nonfiction. So which stories are real?
All together now: it doesn’t matter! The writing is so compelling, so smart and so clever that any thought of its veracity is trivial. [This is the kind of erotica that should be famous. Not that 50 Shades nonsense. How credible are those characters? How can Anastasia climax just from Christian walking by? How many times per page does her ‘breath hitch’? Hesus Christo.]
Back to my point: If the art is well-done, clever, and beautiful, what does it matter if it isn’t real? And how much can we trust a memoir anyway? Our remembrances are always colored when viewed through the prism of our emotions.
All we need to believe in is the power of compelling art.
^ Nerve.com book
^ Beach House’s Bloom