Tell me a story; tell me no lies
I’ve recently returned from the Jaipur Literature Festival and it’s confirmed how nerdy I am. No, wait. Needy. That’s it. Needy of daily inspiration from writers and thinkers. And, daily laughter too.
Plenty of that at JLF along with great panel discussions with smart articulate authors and deft moderators. Fine festival direction with entertainment alongside the cleverly curated sessions… not just contriving to bring together authors who share a tenuous link to a theme or (here’s the cynical lit fest goer talking:) but build a story for we punters, scrambling for seats, hot chai in hand and ears (and hearts) at the ready.
One session that was an unexpected delight (not because of the writers, at all.. .but my general ignorance and, therefore, resistance to attending a session on economics. Still, there was the charismatic French economist — Thomas Picketty in a lively (read: small stoush) with the Finance Minister of India …and others. No less than the uber-impressive Atul Gawande …Biography sessions (Hannah Rothschild and Blake Morrison were excellent…… fiery and inspiring stuff.
I won’t go on as it might need my reproducing the whole program. And we know that’s a)tedious and b) not going to happen here.
Then… there were the smart and advertently (or, more thrilling, the inadvertently) funny speakers. Stephen Fry, the could-be-a-stand-up-comedian-if-he-weren’t-producing-lots-of-books-a-year Alexander McCall Smith…
What does this have to do with lying? A lovely Urdu word I just learned is goya: the transporting suspension of disbelief that an occur in good storytelling.
Seems that contradiction about stories being ‘made up’ (lies) and so deeply embedded in truths about human condition or dreams at the same time is, really, what keeps me reading.. needy for tales and ways to be and think and, ultimately, know how to be in the world.
So, see you at JLF next year. I am raising my cup of chai in a toast to you.