Monday, April 18, 2016


One day in second grade, we were all sitting cross-legged on the carpet to review what we had been learning about fiction and nonfiction.

"Who thinks fiction is things that are true?" asked Miss Doughton.

I raised my hand confidently. I was the only one. Suckers, I thought.

"Who thinks fiction is things that aren't true?" asked Miss Doughton. 

Every other child raised their hand. I remember, in that moment, thinking about my poor peers' herd mentality. Lemmings, I thought.

"You're right, fiction is things that aren't true. Nonfiction is things that are true," Miss Doughton explained.

What? Not only was conscientious little me not used to being the only kid in second grade who was wrong, but also I had felt so confident!

See, my answer was the more logical. True things come first; made up things come second. Fiction is the basic term; nonfiction is defined in relation to it. True things should be called fiction, since they are the more basic. The fact that true things are characterized as not made up is absurd. Anyone without knowledge of the etymology of fiction would have come up with the same answer as me.

And you know what? I still stand by this. 

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