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Monday, January 16, 2017

Sharing 'truths' through writing


“The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is.” – Susan Sontag

Sontag, who was born on this date in 1933, (she died in 2004) was a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and political activist, who was active in writing, speaking about, and travelling to key areas of conflict, including the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo.  She has been called "one of the most influential critics of her generation."

She also was lauded for her ongoing support of beleaguered Iranian dissident Salmon Rushdie, and as a leading writer on culture, health issues, and AIDS.  Her 1986 short story "The Way We Live Now,” published to great acclaim in The New Yorker, remains a significant text on the AIDS epidemic.

While she wrote mostly nonfiction, her literary career began and ended with fiction, and she especially liked working on historical fiction.  “The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects - making it possible... to see a new beauty in what is vanishing,” she said.

She achieved popular success as a best-selling novelist in that genre with her late in life works The Volcano Lover and In America.    And she said she enjoyed linking her writing to things she’d discovered in her own life.
“I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life,”               
 she once remarked, “but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.”


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