by James Curcio on September 2, 2013
Fiction and non-fiction, fact and myth, often aren’t opposites.
These lines blend a little more every day. When these things play such a crucial role in our news as well as entertainment media, and in a world where social media platforms are often at the front lines of cultural revolutions, it is increasingly necessary that these things are understood. Join us for a discussion on this topic, along with links to a variety of articles that expand upon and support the limited amount that can be discussed in a 45 minute panel.
This three person panel is a truncated transcript of the initial Dragon*Con discussion, moderated by David Metcalfe. The other two participants were transmedia artist James Curcio and Damien Williams, who you may have caught at one of many other panels at Dragon*Con this year including “How To Be a Comics Scholar,” “Devouring Selfhood: Zombies In Narrative,” “Gender, Race, and Identities in Comics,” and many others. Links have been added to provide further context. Full bios at the end.
David Metcalfe: The novel or fiction format provides a lot of developmental potential for ideas to foment, for authors and readers alike. Personal mythologies worked into a fictional format can take on a life of their own. How has your experience been with that?
Damien Williams: I don’t have much recent experience but in the heady days of mIRC, I built a number of storytelling personas as what Grant Morrison referred to as “Fiction Suits.” Narratives to live as, to wear to bring certain elements of my life. Recently, I’ve tried it out with a narrative of my life as a series of breaths, in The Immanence of Myth, and a future version of myself, on Twitter.
James Curcio: I think the very ideas of ‘fiction’ vs ‘nonfiction,’ or myth as untruth are major barriers in creating honest mythic work. Myths don’t begin as “myths”. They begin as something that genuinely speaks to us. Narratives directly affect our nervous system. I believe you talked about that in one of your pieces in Apocalyptic Imaginary. And “myth” isn’t a claim of truth or untruth. So let’s try to clear that up right away. (Note: Fiction vs non-fiction in literature | Myth vs. untruth)
There’s a larger issue here. There are many interesting cases where the lines were blurred, but… let’s see. For instance, Jenkem is a case where a complete fiction was picked up by the press. Soon every news station was reporting that kids are getting high huffing feces. Various real atrocities were collectively reported as ‘zombie attacks’ in 2012. Fact and fiction aren’t opposites but this raises certain questions in regard to journalism. Questions that I think Hunter S Thomas divined in a drug fueled stupor. What is the responsibility of the writer versus the journalist, right? And what about the fiction of a writer or artist’s persona? The documentary Kumare raises this issue in the context of religion. He lied to tell the truth. Some others just lie. There’s a difference though many can’t see it.