I’ve been writing about a week on a piece that isn’t true.
No, that’s not quite right.
I’ve been writing about a week (a little more, but I took days off, and I didn’t really count until now, so, 5 days) about a festival, the Wild Goose festival. It was the kind of event that makes you (makes me) want to write about it so that I can understand what it was like to be there. I was there, in fact, and I still don’t understand what it was like to be there…until I write about it.
So I’ve been writing about it. And listening, and thinking, and sitting, and writing. And writing, and writing.Here’s the rub: the part of it that seems to carry the magic, the part of it that seems the realest of all, the part of it that when you rub at it all the shellac just falls away and you’re left with the jeweled original of it that falls into the palm of your hand – that part, I didn’t see.
A friend saw it, and she told me about it. I didn’t see it.
And I want to write about it. In fact, I kind of have to write about it. But, I didn’t see it.
Now, I could do this: I could write it as if I was there. It’s very clear in my imagination what it would have been like. I can smell the air, feel the breeze as it moved through the little opening by the river. I wouldn’t be surprised if these details are actually more clear to me than some of the events that I did attend. But I wasn’t there.
I could say so. I could say, “…and, well, okay, I didn’t actually see this myself. But based on what I was told, I imagine it was something like this.” But I kind of can’t do that either. Because it’s the center, and there’s no room for that kind of detour when you’re that close to the center. There’s just not.
I could do this: I could write the whole thing in fiction. I could abandon the premise that I was there at all. I’m writing about it so that I understand it better, and my understanding isn’t based on reiterating literal truth (which, you know, I’m really quite likely to get wrong anyway) and more based on understanding what I experienced there. The truth can get in the way of understanding, sometimes.
I’m writing this because I almost posted it here, tonight. But I won’t. I’ll just keep writing.