I’ve never been a teller of tall tales. I think people like that are born, not made, and they probably come into the world with a fantastic tale about their journey so far. The best example, I think, in modern media is Big Fish (or “Big Fish,” if we are talking about the movie, and maybe we should be because it was just perfect).
I say that, that I’m not a teller of tall tales, but then again I am a writer of fiction. What’s that, hypothetical reader? What’s the difference you ask? Well, hypothetical reader, I kind of wish you hadn’t asked that question because really, I have no idea.
Well, that’s not entirely true, and I could easily remedy the situation by using somewhat-trusty Google, but who would want to spoil a perfectly good musing with definitive facts?
I think, at the heart of it, the difference between fiction and the likely stories of tall tales is all in the presentation. The tall tale is based on something possible; it might even have its origins in something real, and then it grows, takes on life and color, much like the father’s tall tales did in the movie.
With fiction, there’s no pretense of truth, no yarn-spinning or pulling of either wool or legs. I’ll never tell you that one of my completely imaginary stories is true, though I have to admit that I’ve started to believe that Aunty Ida lives off somewhere in an alternate universe, and it would probably (certainly) be in our best interests to keep it as alternate as possible.
Still, generally speaking, there is no maliciousness in tall tales, just a desire to put a little dab of the fantastic in the every day and mundane. And we can all use a little more fantastic.
Check out my full-length novels, Her Cousin Much Removed, The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!