As an artist, a storyteller and fiction writer, I can totally relate to distinctions between literal and artistic truth.
People mostly don’t expect art to be literal, or even want it to be. We all understand that art often contains great truth without being history or any other kind of fact giving.
Well, most of us understand. I’m currently promoting a novella on Facebook. My story dramatizes LGBTQ conversion therapy and its consequences on three young teenagers.
Each chapter is clearly labeled as fiction. I explain that I’m telling my story based on real case histories, but that I imagined the specific characters.
Like all art, including music, my story is meant to evoke a emotional, human response, to engage readers to think and feel.
In the last couple of days, a couple thousand people have read my story, and for the most part, their comments have been empathetic and kind, exactly what I would expect as an artist.
A few people, though (and this always happens when I write realistic fiction) have taken offense at my story not being “true.” They seem to want it or need it to be literal history.
They don’t seem to “get” what art is meant to do.
I wonder if the authors of the old biblical stories and psalms would feel as frustrated as I do when people dismiss the purpose and value of creative storytelling.
Stories and songs don’t have to be true to be true!