Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Notes on Truth, Life and Headcolds

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I ab vry vry sig. I ab a tuffy nose nd runny eyes nd a vry vry sr trout. Nobdy id de whole wrld has eber bin as sig as me. Nut eber.

Habing said thad, I continue to fuffill my duty as Miss December WIR because I ab jus thad kind of trouper ad also when I lie down I feel I ab going to die so I might as well sit up. Kind ub sit up. I ab tilting a bid to one side at present.

So, since I hab the brain fuzzies and cannot think too good, I ab going to let someone else speak for me. I ab going to share one of the quotes from my bulletin board. Dis is a quote from Schopenhauer. I hab chosen id partly because I thig it’s entirely true and partly as a kind of holiday gift to you all. When you are sitting about the family dinner table wid nutting to talk about or doing the round at festive cocktail parties you can offer, “You know, I was thinking today about something Schopenhauer said.” This is sure to get attention and mostly ub the right sort. So here goes:

All truth goes in three stages.
First is it ridiculed.
Then it is violently opposed.
Finally it is accepted as self evident.

The first thig we notice abut this is that clearly Schopenhauer did nut hab a head cold when he wrote it. Second, it is, as I said, entirely true. Very few thigs are entirely true. Maybe only this one. And, ironically it is true precisely because id is saying that truth is not definitive or finite. Truth changes. Which I suppose means that at some point this statement of Schopehaur's might not be true either. But trying to think thad out makes my head hurt.

For someone like myself studying theology and hoping to become a minister, the fact that truth is more like a living organism than a fossil encased in amber (however beautiful and precious that might be) is a good thing to remember. My own church has gone through exactly this process over ordaining women ministers, ordaining gay ministers, marrying gay people etc. Each time we hab seemed to cling to the idea that truth is finite, even though we hab all of history to prove otherwise, and that causes tremendous pain and turmoil. Each time we come out feeling that of course the new truth was obvious all along. But the pain often endures.

Of course we all want something lasting, something to hang onto, to assure ourselves that we are on solid ground, no matter how much we know that the world is in fact uncertain. Truth as a finite is not that thing. Because truth with a captial "T" does not exist. So finding or defending an absolute truth can not be what life is about.

The ability to live in the growing and stretching of constantly seeking new understanding and being open to new insight; that is what life is all about. Sometimes this seems hard. We’d really like to have that finite truth. Instead what we get is change, uncertainty, revelation, possibility and wonder. Even wid a head cold, thad seems like more than a fair trade to me.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Anne Hines

Anne Hines is the author of three novels, Fishing Up the Moon (Pedlar Press, 1998), The Spiral Garden (McArthur & Co, 2005) and Come Away: song of songs (McArthur & Co., 2007) and one collection of nonfiction humour, A Year In HineSight (McArthur & Co, 2002). A series of essays, Parting Gifts: notes on loss, love and life is due for publication by McArthur & Co, fall 2008.

Go to Anne Hines’s Author Page