Liar, Liar

I am an awful, terrible, no-good, bad liar.

(Now, I understand that you think that I could be testing you by saying this–by saying that I am a terrible liar when I’m really not. But I’d like to assure you that I am a bad liar, and you’re just going to have to take my word for it, which I understand, is suspicious.)

The problem is that I have a glass face. Everyone can see everything bloom on my face like a dark cloud in a bright sky. And I realize that. So, I can feel my lies disintegrating when people look into my face. Heck, I’m even easy to spot on social media. (Nothing is worse than an insincere emoji.)

So, how do I get around lying? Mostly, I tell the truth. Which has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation. But mostly, it’s good. I don’t have to remember what I’ve told someone, and I don’t have to believe my own lies. (No, really, Bailey, you totally won’t eat another cookie. That was definitely your last one.)

Where it becomes a really bad problem is in writing–especially fiction. The people who write the best fiction are exceptionally good “liars,” in a sense, because they are capable of incorporating tons and tons and tons of imaginary detail into a life they’ve already made up. Lies built on lies. And they believe themselves and so they know their characters. And, as you already know, lies make terribly good stories.

Now, this frustrated me. Because how am I supposed to become a great writer if I can’t lie? Even about made up things? Even when it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings?

I’ve thankfully found a solution. I’ve found that when I write, I’m still lying, but I’m actually getting closer to the truth. Think about it. Writers may be making things more beautiful, more real, more relatable, but we’re only distilling the truth and showing the world what it really is through lovely descriptions. We’re not really inventing anything–every story has been told at least twice. We’re just reimagining what we encounter and see everyday, giving it new dimensions. True lies can become tangled, but truth is the web itself, a perfectly organized system that will only betray you if you betray it.

In the end, I don’t really need to lie. I simply need to lie closer to the truth.

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