Thank you Oscar Wilde – Simple Truth

By Carol / March 14, 2018 /

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” – Oscar Wilde.

Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde spoke with insight and humor on many topics. The fallacy of believing truth to be pure or simple is among them.

Though I didn’t have Wilde’s quote in mind when I chose Simple Truth as the title for my new novel, the idea he expressed was top of my mind.

Simple Truth

I was reminded of Wilde’s quote by the Google Alert* I set up last week to track Internet mentions of my novel. I’d only sent out one news release to five newspapers when I set up the alert, so I didn’t expect much.

Imagine my delight when the first report revealed that one of those newspapers ran my release in its online edition. Things were humming.

When the next Alert landed in my inbox, I opened it with enthusiasm only to find that this time, the references to simple truth had nothing to do with my book. These uses of simple truth came from a multitude of people speaking on topics ranging from who voted for Brexit to who should denounce Raul Castro’s successor, from what a Steeler’s player should be paid, to the relevance of Superchunk music.

Each of the writers positioned their point of view as the simple truth. The implication is that anyone who reads their argument must agree because the answer is so obvious. We may all fall into this trap from time to time. I know I have. Yet whenever I think I have it all figured out, I know it’s time to step back, listen, and check my facts. Generally I find the truth is not so simple, the conclusion not so obvious, after all.

This is the situation in which the main character in my novel finds herself. She’s confident she has it all figured out only to find out that she doesn’t.

An article by an Alaskan writer sharing thoughts on Irish humor included Oscar Wilde’s quote. I believe Wilde would have enjoyed the irony of his thought in juxtaposition with all the other writers in the list.

Even though the Alert content wasn’t about my novel specifically, Wilde’s quote was the next best thing. Even better, maybe.

Wilde’s thoughts on the truth are a perfect set up for my novel at the time I’m preparing comments for book launch events.

A bit of humor. A bit of irony. A lovely bit of serendipity. And that’s the simple truth.


*Google Alert – A free tool for tracking any word or set of words. Search “Google Alerts” and you’ll go to page where you can set up any of of terms to track. Google scans the Internet for these terms and sends them to you with a frequency you select. A far cry from the clipping services of old.


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  1. Paulette Mahurin on March 15, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Of course I’m smiling, being that I’m a Wilde fan. And a fan of your books as well. Nice bit of serendipity indeed.

    • Carol on March 15, 2018 at 9:04 am

      I thought of you when I discovered the quote, Paulette. Your novel, “The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap” was my introduction to your historical novels. Love it still.

  2. Janet Givens on March 15, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Love Oscar Wilde of “the best way to deal with temptation” fame. 🙂 And love Google Alerts too, except when I get notices of book pirates offering it for free. This was a fun read in many ways. Thanks Carol.

    • Carol on March 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Janet. I haven’t yet had the problem with book pirates. Or at least that I know of. What a bummer.

      • Janet Givens on March 15, 2018 at 9:21 am

        Turns out I clicked the wrong box when I launched my second edition on Amazon. With no ability to change it. I thought at the time I was more interested in having people read it than in making money. Lesson learned.

        • Carol on March 15, 2018 at 9:28 am

          I made one costly error by clicking the wrong box on Amazon and another error that was simply annoying. Couldn’t change either one. I agree, we learn, but in the meantime …

  3. Merril Smith on March 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    “A bit of humor. A bit of irony. A lovely bit of serendipity. And that’s the simple truth.” Perfect, Carol. 🙂

    • Carol on March 16, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Thank you, Merril.

  4. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on March 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    This post is not simple, but simply profound! Loved the Oscar Wilde quote!

    • Carol on March 16, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Thank you, Elfrieda.

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