There’s a couple of things I’d like to discuss with you this week.
I changed my name to Trixie about this time last year and I don’t think it worked. I didn’t do it legally; that is, it didn’t cost me anything but I informed all my friends that hereafter I would be known as Trixie. I signed all my correspondence “Trixie.” I thought of adding a middle name like Belle, Trixie Belle Els. Has a certain ring to it, dontcha think?
As you will remember, this time last year both Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Camilla Parker-Bowles got new names. They made it seem so easy. You just send out a notice that you’re taking a new name and voila! Everybody is now calling you Pope Benedict or Duchess or whatever you ask. Can I get a tiny little “Trixie”? Not on your life.
And I thought the name suited me so well. Kind of spunky, perky, spicy. Full of personality. I thought it fit me. I thought sure that would become my new nickname and friends would be saying, “Oh, come on now, Trixie let’s not be so radical…” or obnoxious or whatever dark trait would come with the new name. I expected to become more forthright or confident. My new alter ego would be able to send dishes back to the kitchen in restaurants. With a name like Trixie I could get out of speeding tickets and get individual attention at Wal-Mart. I expected my clothes to fit better.
I obviously misjudged my own personality. I guess I’ll have to resume the boring name I was born with.
The other thing I need to get clear to readers of this blog is the issue of “truthiness.” I just love this new word. It sounds kind of cute and playful. Let me go on record that you have come to the wrong place if you want the absolute truth from me. No, I am a hearty advocate of truthiness. I revel in it. I bask in it. I do not apologize for my truthiness. I will never claim that anything I write is accurate.
I think I’m the only person in the US who thinks maybe we’re giving James Frye a hard time about his book A Million Little Pieces. I haven’t read the book but I saw the show when Oprah confronted him for presenting bold lies as the truth. This was probably his main problem. You just don’t lie to Oprah. You’re not supposed to lie to America, either-- though, God knows, we should be used to it by now. Our politicians lie to the American people all the time and we keep electing them to office.
His problem was the lies. But, as a writer and teller of tales myself, I know the temptation. In trying to get to the essence of a scene we sometimes have to magnify the picture. When the facts fail us, we exaggerate. To me the details aren’t all that important and I like to keep facts from blurring my story. Facts have a way of getting in the way when you’re trying to make a point. I get confused myself about the facts. So I will make a solemn vow to you today that I will never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
One last word: Beaven and I are about to go on a trip to Europe. I may be able to send stories of our adventures to you by email. When I’m not able to do that I’ve left a few columns about travel with Elizabeth who will be able to post them for me. I can tell you about our past travels. But I don’t want you looking for the absolute truth in those stories. Just the truthiness.