…a person might make up stories not because he is trying to fool other people or fool himself, but because stories can be inherently valuable. What is missing, in other words, is the possibility of fiction, which is a lie that, precisely because it makes no claim to be true, does not put the credibility of the teller immediately at stake. Story is what happens when the antithesis of truth and lie is reconciled in a higher artistic synthesis.
Adam Kirsch, “The New Essayists, Or the Decline of a Form? The essay as reality television”
A thousand thanks for this, Adam Kirsch. It needed to be said, not just to all those fiction authors masquerading as “essayists,” but to the publishers and editors who enable them. Come out of that closet, David Sedaris et al, and step out into the wonderful world of fiction. Life’s so much truer out here.