A friend alerted me to a writing contest, an alternative one seeking nontraditional nonfiction and blogs.  I considered entering, but then began to wonder, does this blog qualify as nonfiction?  To the best of my knowledge, everything is based on some experience I have had or real people I have met.  And though I would never call it lying, there are some facts that I've manipulated in order to enhance a story, the way we all do when describing our days to friends and family.

Examples: In a post titled "Practical Jokes" I said that all the neighbors raked their leaves and scattered them on the man's yard, though it was only one neighbor who actually did. The 24-hour Walgreens in the "24-hour Walgreens" post was not a 24-hour Walgreens but one that closes at 10p.m.  Elsewhere, I took a confrontation that happened at a different time and inserted it in a situation where it didn't actually happen, but where it could have easily happened, and where, narratively, it was much more effective.  At least one post is half imagined, though it rings more true in its imagined form, since the imagined part makes the story compelling.  At least once, I changed the date on a post to make it appear that I had not missed a day.  I used "rarely" where perhaps "sometimes" would have been closer to the truth.

How much manipulation can a real occurrence undergo until it becomes fiction?  How much can we trust our own idea of the truth?  Why are we so compelled to know whether a story is real or imagined?

I once saw an art piece erected in the desert, a dozen signs on tall poles.  The signs read Real on one side, Imagined on the other.  When the wind blew, the signs spun, the words blurring, until Real was indistinguishable from Imagined.

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