What If

I’m taking an extended break from a novel I’m working on, to finish the first draft of a memoir. I stopped writing this morning to consider whether “what if” can play a substantive role in surfacing more actual memories. In memoir, a “what if” scenario wouldn’t typically come to mind, that question being fundamental to the fictional stories I create.

My mother died when I was ten, and although I’ve wondered whether I’d be the person I am today had she lived, I haven’t stitched together an imagined, year-by year charting of how my life might have otherwise unfolded.  I’m weighing the value of this exercise. Are there cosmic truths embedded in the subconscious that a fictional “what if” rendering might float to the surface?  Would piecing together an alternative, fictitious life reveal insightful, true memories that would contribute to the memoir? Or am I simply opening a can of fictional worms?  Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.

For now, I’m just wondering.


About Ken Lutes

Ken Lutes brings his background in memoir and fiction writing to his work at the North Denver Tribune (northdenvertribune.com). He enjoys interviewing his neighbors in Northwest Denver, where he has lived since 1999. After hours you will find him playing hot gypsy guitar with the Paris Swing Set band.
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2 Responses to What If

  1. luministblog says:

    Interesting question.
    Heard this the other day: “Non-fiction is the facts, fiction is the truth.” Maybe we need to step away from the chronicling of events in order to put into perspective the “truth” of our lives.

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