Truth and Memory

When I first sat down and started writing The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen, I started with vignettes from my childhood. These were my memories of my childhood and my truth, but not necessarily The Truth. In truth, I cannot be sure what exactly The Truth is. Let me give you an example. Early in the book I recount a day when my sister, my parents, and I spent the day at the Elk's Lodge pool. At some point during the day, many of the children engaged in a high dive competition. Eventually that competition morphed into flips off the high dive. As I recall it, I failed miserably at this, landing on my back repeatedly. However, my father pushed me to try and try again, to little success and much pain and embarrassment. Eventually my mother had to intercede with my dad so that I could quit trying.

As my writing progressed, I sent this story along with a number of others to my sister for her to read and offer feedback. Immediately upon reading the passage outlined above, my sister called me saying, "Lori, it was me on the high dive who could not do the flip." The more I have thought of that, the less sure I am who it was on the high dive that day. However, my truth is that it was me, and Lisa's truth is that it was her. Regardless, we both recall it the same way, and we both took a big lesson regarding failure from the experience which is The Truth.

Lori Leachman