Whose Truth is It?

Monday, May 23, 2022


Whose Truth is It?

"I have to tell the truth"

Grab your coffee or tea before you get too much further - this may be a longer than usual chat. 

Ready? Here goes - I need your help with something spinning in my brain:

Sometimes the truth is easier to define than others. I find myself pondering what is true when I sit down to critique an essay or short story, or write a book review. Of course, I have to tell the truth - but wait...what's the truth and whose truth is it? This is an internal conversation I have every time. It's so much easier when you're talking about baking or driving. The truth is, the recipe calls for 2T of sweet cream. The truth is, the speed limit is 45mph. Those are what I like to think of as simple truths. You can't argue with them. You COULD say the recipe calls for 2T of sweet cream but I use 1.5T or the speed limit is 45mph but I'm always going 50mph through there. When it comes to someone's work of art the truth is anything but simple. 

Without knowing every author on a personal level, it's hard for me to know the reason behind publishing their book. We could have this same conversation when it comes to art - but I'll save that for another day as I was reading the many comments about the Coach X Jean-Michel Basquat bag. You can look that up for yourself. But I digress...

Back to authors and books. Some authors write as something therapeutic and end up sharing it with the world with the intention to help others. Some people write to share their own stories. I could keep going all day and I must mention my current book blog tour for a book that was written by a friend of  mine at the request of a woman's grandchildren who found her old (written in Italian) love letters and wanted them published. (Check out more about that particular book and reason for writing it here: Audry Fryer's "Until Next Sunday".  Some people set out to advance their career in a particular field and others want to write the next great American novel...Anyway - I find myself not liking certain books for whatever reason(s) but when I sit down to write my review I start by reminding myself "I have to tell the truth".

That brings me to a menagerie of other questions for me, myself and I (here are just a few of the most often brought to the forefront for me):

*Is it the book I didn't like or is it something about myself that I learned by reading the book and maybe the book is lovely and it's part of me that I don't like? 

*Is the book not good, or does the topic itself scare me or not interest me?

*Is it the book or is there a character that reminds me of someone I have negative associations with?

*Is the book not good or am I not understanding why it was written or for whom?

The truth is - I struggle to love books about adoption because they hit too close to home. This doesn't mean I can't give the book 5 stars - because the book is likely well written, well intended, and it's my own trauma giving me the negative vibe and it has nothing to do with the authors truth. It's my truth that is standing in the way of my loving the book. Same thing with books about suicide. I commend authors who write about difficult topics - when I can barely bring myself to read the books much less write them. 

I try hard not to confuse MY truth with the truth of the book and the author. We all bring to the proverbial table all of our past experiences, all our biases, all our relationships, and oh so many emotions. Because of these differences, I may love a book and you may not. I can also tell you there are very few books I can honestly give a negative review for - because each of my reviews is simply my own truth. I commend anyone who has published their work, just as I commend every artist who has hung their work or the musicians who have made a sound. 

YOU should share your truth - whether it be through written or spoken word, work of art, music, etc... and as someone who reviews your truth, I will always do my best to share MY truth without taking away from yours. 

As our time together comes to an end, let me ask you:

What do you struggle with most when it comes to sharing your truth? (what's holding you back from publishing, or writing that review, or singing that solo?)

What do you ask yourself most often when writing a book review?

Do you completely disagree with my article? I want to hear that too!

Is there a book you think I need to read and review? (I definitely need to hear about these)

 Share your answers as a comment on this post!

PS - the painting at the top of this page is one of my most favorite works of art. You may see mistakes - I see something painted by myself and my teenage daughter. We often don't see eye to eye, but we decided to do this together and each worked on a certain part. This painting hangs in my kitchen as a reminder that working together can create something beautiful. This is just one example where MY truth may not align with yours - and that's just fine! 



About Today's Author:

Crystal is a foodie, farmer, and friend! She has 6 children and lots of special young people who call her "mom" even if she isn't 'their' mom! She starts each day sipping coffee and milking cows with the love of her life and occasionally ends the day with a glass of wine.  Crystal is raising kids and cattle while juggling cleaning jobs, bartending shifts, music gigs, her job as office manager and she escapes reality a few hours each week riding horses and reading books (not simultaneously)! And who knows, she may start blogging again sometime soon: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

In the meantime, you can find her posting pics of food, cattle, and more on Instagram and Facebook


Angela Mackintosh said...

You covered a lot here from all different angles about truth! To be completely honest, I don't write negative book reviews. If there's a book I don't like, I don't review it. That may not be helpful to others, but the way I see it, the author took the time--most likely years!--to write this book from her heart and soul and was brave enough to share her truth with the world; so if I don't like it, it's just not for me. I've read negative reviews on books that I absolutely love, so I know how varied readers' tastes are.

As far as sharing my truths, I write creative nonfiction, so I have no problem with that. My problem is oversharing. ;)

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