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Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

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Feeling Nostalgic

Choose to Challenge

When I was nearing the end of high school in 1981, a forward-thinking teacher challenged one of my classes with this riddle.

A father and son were in a car accident in which the father was killed. The ambulance brought the son to the hospital. He needed immediate surgery. In the operating room, a doctor came in, looked at the boy and said, “I can’t operate. He is my son.”

Who was the doctor?

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Adulting: Then and Now

On her marriage certificate dated 1907, officials categorized my great-grandmother Essie as a spinster. She was only 22 years old. I thought of it when I read this quote:

“Since young people must meet ever-higher criteria (including more schooling) in order to become successful adults in the information age, the ladders they must climb to reach adulthood are lengthening. (…) In post-industrial societies like the United States, the age has shifted from twenty-two to twenty-six.” Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women, Edited by Paula Goldman 
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Truth in Life Versus Truth in Art and Writing

In Aspects of the Novel, developed from a series of his 1927 Trinity College lectures, E.M. Forster shared an excerpt of work by author André Gide. The passage examines “the old thesis of truth in life versus truth in art.” Upon first reading this phrase, I thought brilliant idea—then doubled back for another pass and sunk into it like a warm bath. Truth in life versus truth in art.

The title of this piece you’re reading could easily be renamed Plato Versus Aristotle. The former believed artists create a mere imitation of life that distracts from truth. Aristotle took a view friendlier to creatives. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearances of things, but their inward significance.” The manner in which artists depict an object, projects their “inward” experience of the world—#speakyourtruth.

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