Constance Kreik’s new study, From the Life, tackles head-on that thorniest of questions: when does fiction become autobiography – and vice versa? So often the line between the two, as we all know, is finer than the thread of a very thin spider. In the vain hope of establishing some sort of order out of this chaos, Kreik has constructed the following ‘fool-proof’ system by which (she writes) ‘all forms of writing can be loosely categorised’. To aid, or possibly to obfuscate, understanding I have added my own embellishments in parenthesis.
Type One: Autobiographical Mode – in which the writer openly writes about his/herself, with frequent recourse to verifiable facts. Not to be confused with the ‘absolute truth’, which is of course a non-existent concept.
(For example: A man named Georgy Riecke edits a journal called Underneath the Bunker).
Type Two: Semi-autobiographical Mode – in which the writer more-or-less writes about his/herself, changing facts as they see fit, often with the purpose of shielding the identity of close friends and enemies. This mode is reguarly employed ironically.
(For example: A man named Jorge Riker edits a journal called Below the Citadel).
Type Three: Demi-semi-autobiographical Mode – in which the writer continues to write about his/herself, but is very loose with facts and/or the rules to which ‘reality’ adheres.
(For example: A twelve-foot giant named Jorgius edits and publishes a series of edifying journals from his mountain palace in Jorgestan).
Type Four: Quasi fiction – in which the writer’s shadow begins to take on a life of its own, not all of which closely relates to that of the writer or his/her close friends and enemies.
(For example: Amongst the activities enjoyed by King Jerges we may find peasant-grilling, nobleman-mauling and journal-editing).
Type Five: Fiction – in which hardly any trace of the writer’s actual life can be discerned by the reader at first glance. Not to be confused with ‘complete fantasy’, which is of course a non-existent concept.
(For examples: Jerges of the Mohaitans would rather eat a Hungarian poet than read their work, except on Sundays, when he gets all sentimental and can’t help himself).
[There will be no more on this later]