What would you get if you combined the disciplines of history and writing and seasoned them with a few thoughts from the practice of law? What I have in mind is something like a truth commission. But whose truth? Where is the truth of history to be found?
Truth commissions are a relatively new effort in recognizing the truth that everyone has to offer and can result in a formally recognized and therapeutic version of historical events. Dating from the early 1980s, truth commissions have been created to assuage the mental and psychological torment of crimes and atrocities that have occurred in a particular locale and often go ignored, misrepresented or denied in the ongoing life of a given society. Truth commissions are an effort to legally document the experiences of victims that history leaves behind. They have been valuable in the effort to create a transitional or restorative type of justice wherein victims and society can come to terms with the misrepresentations and obsfucations of the past. They have been responsible for such reports as the Nunca Mas created in Argentina in 1983. See http://www.desaparecidos.org/nuncamas/web/english/library/nevagain/nevagain_004.htm
It is my position that writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, combined with the study of history can go hand-in-hand toward the development and documentation of truth. Writing as an expression of human experience can enlighten the need for new measures of justice and reconciliation in fragmented societies and minority populations. I applaud the business of truth and I like the idea of a single writer, a single historian, as one individual, private, personal, commissioner of truth.
It is with these ideas in mind that I look forward to my writing and history classes through Western New Mexico University this summer.