Truth and story
A few years back, I helped novelist Clare George with some of her public writing workshops, Imagine There’s a Future. Speakers shared their climate change work, writers discussed scenarios and wrote new stories. For me, this was a powerful introduction to the value of creative work on our climate predicament, for writers and readers. Clare describes how the stories came from very diverse authors working together. “Climate change campaigners sat next to climate change sceptics and openly discussed their most heartfelt fears and dreams in ways that would not have been possible without the help of fiction.”
In this way, writing fiction acts as a boundary object, enabling collaboration without the burden of consensus. Creative dialogue could do what debating facts rarely can because “we all understand the truth status of fiction.” Might nurturing a collaborative ability to ‘suspend disbelief’ in another person’s (writer, character) truth claims generate more hopeful, productive fictional explorations and ‘real world’ actions? Always with the understanding that, as Clare says, “no story in the world can make a hard task easy. Whatever we want to change, it’s still us who have to do it, and sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t.” There’s a story.