1. Home 
  2. Introduction
  3. On Our Glossary and Taxonomy
  4.     Glossary of Terms
  5.     Taxonomies of Creative Nonfiction
  6.             Central Questions
  7.             Dramatic Design
  8.             Forms
  9.             Genre and Veracity
  10.             Imagery
  11.             The Mind
  12.             Language
  13.             Narrative Energy
  14.             Narrators
  15.             Scene
  16.             Topics
  17.             Truth
  18. The Central Question Podcast
  19. Contact the Authors

Taxonomy of Truth (Chapter 13)

Creative Nonfiction is tricky to define since it is based around what it is not: i.e. not fiction. Still, one definition is that creative nonfiction uses imaginative elements to write about real events. 

Essay originates from the Latin word exxagium (through the French word essai) and means “a weighing” or “to examine” or “to try.” An essay, therefore, is an examination or the trying on of an idea or event.

Fact, in Medieval Latin, meant something that was literally a “thing done.” By the 1600s, a fact was understood to be “a thing that is known or proven to be true.”

Forgetting Curve highlights the speed at which memories break down. Research shows that humans lose over half of their memories in under a week unless they actively review the experience. This loss of memory, the forgetting curve, occurs because the brain cannot hold onto all of its memories. 

Malleable Memories is a term that reminds us that all memories are, at their core, inventions and re-creations. Memories are pliable; easily distorted. 

Memoir traces itself back to the Latin word memoria, which means, simply, “memory.” Memoir is a sharing of the writer’s memories or the construction of one’s story from one’s memory. 

Myths are stories that a culture believes to be true (and may be true) while the outside world believes a culture’s myths to be untrue or distorted.

Myths, Personal, are stories that a writer accepts as truth and fact but are actually falsified by malleable memories and the distortion of our phenomenal truths.

Noumenal, The, originates from the term “Ding an sich,” which can be translated as “thing-in-itself.” The noumenal is the actual world or the factual world. 

Phenomenal, The, is the world of appearances and interpretation, the world filtered through a human’s senses. Broken down into mathematical terms, noumenal truth + our senses = an individual’s phenomenal truths. 

Truth comes from the West Saxon word triewe and means “faithful" or having the “quality of being true.” True, meanwhile, traces itself back to Proto-Germanic. Since the 1200s, true has meant “consistent with fact” and since the 1300s has meant “real, genuine, not counterfeit.”

Truth, Aesthetic, deals with the ways a specific writer—or related group of writers—approach their material artistically. Aesthetic truths are cultivated through the forms or style a writer uses to uncover their knot of meaning, and often contributes to the knot of meaning. 

Truth, Emotional, is how someone feels about or interprets an experience and/or how an experience feels in the moment.