Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Liar. Liar. Pants on fire.

Liar. Liar. Pants on fire. I remember that school yard taunt launched at anyone suspected of telling a lie. Lying is a universal phenomenon that defines human character and motive. It’s that tick-tock thing that all writers are aware of as they plot their stories of heroes and villains. Lying is what all readers suspect. And in our everyday life, it is what we all encounter hour after hour in our homes, our places of work, and in every form of electronic or print communication. The list is endless. We lie and we are lied to constantly.

Our politicians are our most notable liars. They lie so frequently and facilely that they seem convinced of their own lies. When confronted, they spin new lies to conceal the old ones. For these liars, deception and delusion go hand in hand. The spider becomes ensnared in the web of his own deception.

Then there are those liars who are just as fervent—the Lance Armstrongs of the world who lie with complete awareness and intent. They feel no guilt for any action that helps them attain their goals—more money, more power, more fame. They easily rationalize self-interest and live comfortably with themselves until someone decides to nail their hide to the wall. Then they are forced to offer up hollow apologies and they carefully orchestrate their lies to paint themselves as victim. 

There are also the pathological liars who tell lies without purpose or objective or benefit to themselves. They lie because they simply can’t help it. And what about the liars, the purveyors of little white lies who seek to protect others from the pain of truth? We lap up their honeyed assurances because we do not have the courage to face the truth.

And then there are those liars, like my character Elizabeth in Dreaming of Laughing Hawk, who lie to protect themselves from the judgments and expectations of others. 

Prevarication was the best word, Elizabeth thought, to define little deceptions. Prevarication was like throwing salt over your shoulder or staying clear of black cats and ladders. It was what you did to avoid bad luck and preserve yourself. Never tell anyone what you really think. Never tell anyone what you really fear. Lie if you must.
A liar is someone who gives you a story that sets your foot on the wrong path. He or she may do this deliberately or as a reflex of their own self-delusion. Every good story has a character who is lying to himself or others.

Lies are fundamental to all stories. Lies are the stories we repeat to ourselves so we can abide living in our own skins. We villains persist in lying. We heroes and heroines eventually confront. And the world lurches and wobbles on its axis. To lie or not to lie—that is the question.

So what lies infuriate you? What lies do you forgive? What fictional or real life character has told the biggest whopper? And this—how do you know if your opinion is not based on lies told to you by others?

8 comments:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Please follow me back at http://adriandiglio.com/blog

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  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Granny Gee/Gloria :))) happycolorsandgrannygee.blogspot.com

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  3. Interesting post. Following from WLC.

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  4. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

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  6. Thanks for following my blog! I followed back! I love your blog! I found it very infomitive and I enjoyed visiting it!

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  7. So true about lying and fiction. I found your blog through WLC.

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  8. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate it- and that's no lie! ;)
    J Lenni Dorner

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