The Greatest Story Ever Told…by your Inner Author

Life of Pi, novel by Yann Martell

Image by SoniaT 360. via Flickr

 “Art is the lie that tells the truth.”

–Pablo Picasso

I recently re-read one of my favorite works of fiction: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. The main character narrates 94 chapters about his life and death struggle as a teenage boy lost at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. When he is finally safely ashore after 227 days adrift on the Pacific, his interrogators disbelieve his riveting tale. Pi then tells them a much briefer story that is dry and yeastless, as Pi himself would say, but very believable. He then asks his interrogators to choose the better story.

Who wouldn’t choose a story of adventure, keen wits, spiritual heroism and physical courage –over a story of base human instinct and brutal survival?

As Martel also points out in this novel, the Bible itself, the best-seller of all time, is a literary work that expresses deep truths that simple facts, no matter how correct, cannot convey.

Our dreaming mind, I would contend, is among the greatest artists: literary and visual, of all time, creating riveting, often-hair raising tales, in a matter of minutes.

My bookshelf

Like great works of fiction, dreams too take a slice of life and record it in narrative form, using metaphor, dialogue, character, symbols, and other literary and even cinematic devices.

By day we live the facts—that is, the nonfiction of our lives. By night we “read” the fictional versions that our minds create.

The careful reader can surely extract the deepest of truths from these nightly fictions.


Get more views on the dreamy art of fiction at these Corner View blogs from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine


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9 responses to “The Greatest Story Ever Told…by your Inner Author

  1. oh well, yeah. that is of course, very nicely put, that the dream would be the fiction of our non fiction dailies… i like that image, a lot.
    of course, i would like to add, that i hope my dailies expose non fiction too.

  2. David

    Interesting perspective. I hope I can do both “extract the deepest of truths from these nightly fictions” and extract the deepest fiction from my non fiction daytime experiences.

  3. It took me some time to realize that it’s “Schiffbruch mit Tiger” (german version, different title & cover). Already had it on my “to-read”-list! ;o)

  4. Don

    I really enjoyed Life of Pi too. Dream worthy.

  5. my dad told me about this book – he thought it was quite good. now that’s two recommendations!

    i know that we have graphic novels nowadays but i’m not sure that’s quite the same. yours is an EXCELLENT idea! illustrated grown up books! where do i start/sign up?!

    • I keep hoping that if I say it enough (grownup books need pictures, too!) someone will take me up on it and start publishing illustrated books for big people 🙂 I agree … graphic novels is not the same thing … but they’re a step in the right direction at least!

  6. ok, three, thanks to don.

  7. Very nice. My inner artist, my dreaming mind, needs more hours to create these days.

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