Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 238
Everyone knows that a lot of memoirs have made-up scenes; it's obvious. And everyone knows that half the time at least fictions contain literal autobiographical truths. So how do we decide what's what, and does it even matter?
This quote discusses the difference between fact and truth. It is a common practice of authors who write memoirs, biographies, autobiographies to use fictional scenes to tell a story. While the scene itself is fiction and not fact, it is used to tell a truth. Slater asks, "Does it matter?" This is the great irony of non-fiction and creative non-fiction writing: using non-facts to report the truth.
I record my life, sifting and trying to separate what is real from what I’ve dreamed. I have decided not to tell you what is fact versus what is unfact primarily because (a) I am giving you a portrait of the essence of me, and (b) because, living where I do, living in the chasm that cuts through thought, it is lonely…
We are more than a sum of events and fact, something Slater relays in this quote. In an effort to present to the reader an in-depth picture of who she is, Slater is not solely relying on facts. We are affected not only by things that happen but by things that do not. Fears, dreams, and thoughts have just as much to do with our stories as facts and events.