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It sickens me that cops like this exist in the real world. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the police. Most officers are good people and they've volunteered to do a job I would never want to do. But spending all that time and energy for just a petty drug bust? Please. Make yourself useful and protect small local businesses from thieves.

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This is an ignorant question that makes me feel old, but when I came of age as a creative writer no one was really talking about auto-fiction. Or maybe I missed it. There was a lot of talk about memoir fabulism, a la James Frey. But really people chose to either write memoir (creative nonfiction) or to write fiction. Plenty of people wrote what might be called auto-fiction now, if that is roughly interchangeable with autobiographical fiction. Pam Houston's short stories in Cowboys Are My Weakness are in that ballpark. Lots of Philip Roth is, too, I'd think. And there are so many real-life prototypes for Willa Cather's characters that there is a cottage industry among researchers in identifying them all (very tedious to listen to sometimes).

So what's the difference between just writing a short story that you call fiction, but that is drawn largely from real life, and writing a work of auto-fiction? Why would one choose auto-fiction over memoir? Is it, as some have suggested to me, to avoid the risk of being accused of fabricating portions of the memoir? Or are there stylistic reasons, such as not wanting to interrupt the narrative with the kind of exposition that memoir invites, where you have scenes, but often an older narrator meditating on them on some meta-level?

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Solid question. I get asked this often. I also just the past year or so started saying auto-fiction as shorthand for autobiographical fiction. So you’re not alone there. I distinguish a difference between memoir and auto fiction along these lines: With memoir I hew as close as possible to what ‘actually happened,’ with the understanding that memory is slippery/tricky; with auto fiction it’s heavily based on real life but I allow myself to exaggerate, alter, dramatize etc when I feel the impulse to do so. So with memoir I stick to facts. With auto fiction I start with facts but allow myself wiggle room if I want. Most of my auto fiction is 98% true though, I’d say.

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May 27, 2023Liked by Sincere American Writing

I really enjoyed this piece, Michael, having had a close call

' or two myself! :)

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As a Brit I have a couple of questions: 1. Does everyone REALLY hate californians? 2. What's the deal with beer? Are people allowed to drive at 18 or 16 but not drink?

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In Montana, the term for wealthy retirees buying up land and driving up property taxes that sometimes price out locals, is Californication. So that's at least true in my old stomping grounds.

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May 27, 2023·edited May 27, 2023Liked by Sincere American Writing

I was shocked the cops didn’t fuss about open container! But, yes Californians are widely hated. The state's liberal values anger many conservatives, especially Midwestern Americans.

When I lived in Washington, and worked route sales, I frequently got pulled over in Wyoming and South Dakota by police hoping to find drugs.

We Pacific Northwesterners had a bad reputation for no reason too.

Thankfully most cops didn’t check inside my………tires for the bags of crystal meth.

Crank forever!!! Woooo!!!!

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Indeed!!!

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Thanks, Jody. And LOL

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