I was sitting in a bar alone a few weeks ago and the guy next to me asked what I did for a living. I told him that I worked for a national show on public radio. He asked what it was about. I told him TTBOOK explores ideas. He paused, and said, “In this day and age the only idea worth exploring is truth.”
In many ways he is right. In our reality TV world, our digital age, with our current political rhetoric, truth is maybe not a true as it used to be.
A few years ago I wrote a memoir, hoping to find a greater truth of my life. I was left with more questions than answers. And the only essential truth I came to was that writing truth – putting what happened in my life on paper - was not easy. In fact it was painful and confusing.
Terese Marie Mailhot couldn’t agree more. She grew up on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. Her life on the reservation was traumatic – it included alcohol and sexual abuse, poverty and violence. She wound up hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar disorder. But it was also in that hospital where she was given a notebook. She says she used the notebook to write her way out of trauma. The result is the astounding memoir, “Heart Berries.” She too wanted to get at the greater truth of her life. Interestingly, she first wrote the book as a novel but later changed it to a memoir. Because as she put it, “the stakes weren’t high enough in fiction.”
Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard has published six volumes of intensely personal descriptions of his daily life. But his “honesty” cost him some of his closest relationships, including his marriage.
The Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid sets his newest novel, "Exit West," in a world of permanent mass migration, in a city ripped apart by civil war. He told Steve Paulson he modeled it on his own city — Lahore, Pakistan.
Historian Carol Anderson walks us through the timeline of truly free and fair elections in the United States, a period she says lasted from the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 until a fateful Supreme Court decision in 2013.