Discover more from Truth Be Told
Roman à clef
She's not who you think she is.
Her hands on the wheel are as natural and unthinking as the tilt of a bird’s wings in flight. Effortless. Intuitive. Instinctive.
“There's a rhythm to her driving,” wrote Autosport. “Romana Clay is precision personified. Each turn fluid. Each decision more perfect than the last.”
Raised in the dirt fields of Indiana, Romana began racing go-carts at the age of seven.
By nineteen, the once bony, freckle-faced farm girl was filling out her Nomex racing suit quite nicely, thank you very much.
But that wasn’t the only attention this fetching young lady was getting.
But that was a long time ago.
Three DUIs, two marriages, three children, and a stint in rehab time ago.
She’s old. Washed up. Missed her ride, they say. No racing team on the circuit will have her now.
But still, she drives.
Romana drives high rollers to Atlantic City, Reno, and the Vegas Strip from anywhere in the country.
She drives packages across the desert, across the border, across time zones to sketchy destinations scribbled on the back of bar napkins, business cards, and post-it notes.
She drives spoiled brats to the beach, mistresses to Rodeo Drive, executives to board rooms, and drug dealers to clandestine meetings, drop points, and kill rooms, and she does it all—for a price.
Romana drives with the dream that someday, as soon as she’s earned enough money someday, she will not only compete—but win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One of the most grueling yet prestigious events in all of motorsport:
What’s the real story here?
So, am I telling the story of a washed-up race car driver using the one and only skill she has to fight her way back to respectability and achieve her ultimate dream?
Or, is this the story of Edwin Ross a prodigious painter who lost his way?
Addicted, dirty, disheveled, and confused. Often homeless. No gallery will display his art now.
But still, he paints.
He wanders the streets, creates murals on abandoned warehouses, and sells sketches to passersby on the sidewalk. He does all this in service to his art. Driven by the dream that one day…one day his work will be discovered, and he will finally become a real artist.
The Speculative Fiction Writer
Or am I telling my story?
The story of a closet creative who considers stories essential to survival.
A writer whose favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Madeline Miller, Franz Kafka, Silas House, and Cory McCarthy, among many others.
A frustrated fiction writer who believes that storytelling is a fundamental feature of what it means to be human.
But also a writer who, alas, is relegated to churning out marketing materials for tech products and software companies to earn enough money to pay the bills.
But how would you know?
How would you know if the names have been changed, the genders disguised, the circumstances imagined, the setting fabricated, or even the dream completely made up?
How would you know the truth behind the fiction?
Unless you had a key.
Roman à clef
Roman à clef (pronounced roh-MAHN a KLAY) is a French term that literally means "novel with a key."
Writers use Roman à clef to explore real events and people while maintaining a level of distance or anonymity. The "key" refers to the understanding that certain characters or events correspond to actual individuals or real situations.
Sometimes, Roman à clef (are you saying it? Romana Clay?) is used to avoid libel and defamation lawsuits. Other times, it's to present a more nuanced view of events or to push back on the collective understanding.
The approach allows authors to tackle sensitive or controversial topics indirectly while providing readers with an insight into the world the story portrays.
So, who is Romana Clay?
I suppose if you’ve read this far, you deserve to know the truth.
I mean, what kind of fun is a puzzle with missing pieces or a lock without a key?
So, okay—here goes.
Truth be told, I don’t write speculative fiction.
But I know someone who does.
…and she’s really good, too. 😉
I love you guys!
Be cool 😎