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DETACHMENT (Part one) for Abbotsford Workshop

Comments by Maurice Meirau

RE: Truth in memoir, fiction, poetry – writing about family matters

‘There is no such thing as the unvarnished truth. In any narrative form,
including non-fiction, as soon as you begin to select facts and story-lines,
you are varnishing and potentially distorting the truth. In Detachment the
point of view is almost exclusively that of a character named Maurice. He
has a lot in common with me, but I tried to make him more charming and
coherent than I usually am. And the perspective on my children, my wife, my
father, etc. are all very much selected versions of what the character with
my name sees. Being objective about what is interesting and lends force to
the narrative in non-fiction should coincide with truth-telling, but it
depends what you mean by truth. Right now I’m writing or perhaps
transforming what started out as a real trip to the war in Ukraine and to my
sons’ extended family in 2016. I started making things up more than a year
ago and so now it will be a novel. From a writing perspective, this isn’t
much different from memoir.’

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