Imagined Truths

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On the eve of publication, we spoke with Gabriela Ybarra about writing grief, playing detective, and finding freedom in a photograph of Robert Walser. Her illness went by so fast that, when she passed away, I felt the need to write down what I had lived through during the previous months just to make sense of it all. During the process, I got stuck several times. As I started to look back, I realized that many of these behaviors were related to the kidnapping and murder of my grandfather by the terrorist group ETA in In grieving my mother, I stumbled upon the unresolved grief related to my grandfather.

Is it important for you that readers view The Dinner Guest as a novel? I consider the book a novel because I believe that memory is always fiction and, in the case of my grandfather, I had to make up big parts of his kidnapping because nobody in my family would tell me anything about it.

Imagined Truths

For many years, my family lived as if these traumatic events had never happened. I could infer their pain through their silences, but lacked a story; the only information that I had came from the newspapers. In the case of my mother, I did know the events quite well, but reality is often too complicated to make believable, so I had to twist it.

Did you experiment with the narrative voice, or did you start the project already sure of the tone? GY : I like what Ernaux says about the ethnological study of herself. I felt that the text worked better when the emotions were contained and not too explicit.


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Did your research most often confirm or contradict your imaginings? GY : I imagined as I researched. When I invented things, I always tried to stay true to what I knew of the characters and situations.


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  5. During the writing of the first part of the book—the part about my grandfather—I was always trying to come closer to my father. I always think of The Dinner Guest as a ritual of grief and an exercise of truth in which I use fiction to help me assimilate the deaths of my mother and grandfather. STH: I find it wonderfully destabilizing the way the narrative frequently cross-examines itself. For example, chapter three begins with a passage which discounts a particular story about your family that is presented as fact in the previous chapter.

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    What inspired you to do this? GY: In memory, and in most investigations, there are contradictions. I found them constantly in the newspapers. STH: Can you speak about your choice to include real documents, including photographs, newspaper articles, and Google search results in the narrative? GY : I included documents that I felt were important for the story.

    Speaking the Truths Only the Imagination May Grasp

    This demands a new epistemology, and requires that teachers change their conceptual structures and recognize that all theories of knowledge are not founded solely on formal logic using uninterpreted experience as data. Moreover, it demands that new models be considered as ways of making sense and of understanding. As teachers, we realize that learning how to cope with changes of this magnitude requires leadership where relationships are crucial.

    Our cultural narratives, when freed of the bounds of instrumental learning, become powerful tools for an emerging world where questions and answers are not simple, cause and effect equations. Yes, the teacher is a facilitator, but one with the mastery of sufficient material to be able to paint numerous contexts for the learner.

    References in: Imagined Truths

    We need to be open, attentive, and anticipatory to that which may surprise us, to that which we will not expect. The shape of past knowledge can be discovered by reflecting on the ways in which we make decisions and by asking why questions. These questions frame intentions and focus on the specific process of knowing why and how ideas have changed from the past to the present.

    By placing the self in the middle, this process becomes a trialectic of relational thought which in turns becomes the dialectic of learning. See All Customer Reviews.

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    Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Overview Education is often envisioned as a linear, one-way, cause-and-effect process, with teaching as the cause, learning as the effect. Product Details.