Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm a liar again! Only ... not so much?

On her blog, Cynthia Willis was kind enough to nominate me once again for this award, in which nominees are asked to conceal a single truth in a long list of lies.

While I'm grateful, of course, to Cynthia for passing this along, I do have to wonder. Should I be proud of being honored for my lying skills twice in the space of two weeks?

Well, I am. I was raised that if you're going to tell a lie, you should make it a good one. But it also got me thinking. Are we writers liars, really? I mean, if you read Livvie Owen Lived Here, you'll find that of course it is fiction -- but -- fiction with a lot of fact concealed within, just like the list the Creative (Liar) Writer award asks nominees to compile.

Sure, there is no Livvie (although there is a girl who organizes her kitchen dishes and hums to herself, and there is another who calls her parents by their first names and who used to use third person when she was upset). And because there is no Livvie, there is no way she could have lived in over twenty different places in a single county (although somebody did -- actually, five somebodies, of whom I am the youngest). And none of those places could have been an abandoned Nabor post office (because of course Nabor doesn't have a post office, as it's not a real town -- but Canvas, WV, had a post office-turned-apartment and any little girls who happened to live there really did have mail slots between their bedrooms).

In fact, each of the places Livvie lived in the town of Nabor comes straight from my memory. With some changes, of course. Some fictionalization. Some little lies.

So this Creative Liar award has got me wondering. Am I the only one who hides so many of my truths in fiction?

Surely not.

Maybe "fiction" is the biggest lie I've been telling.

So, this award. I'm supposed to nominate seven people to tell me a whopping list of lies. I nominate YOU. Post a comment in which you tell me something true that you have hidden in your fiction. Make me feel better about not being a very good liar.


Mary Witzl said...

I got nominated for this the other day, so now I feel doubly nominated.

I hide myself in my fiction, in weird little Frankenstein ways -- a little bit of me scattered about from character to character.

There's something so tantalizing about being something you're not just for fun. I remember a quote from Catcher in the Rye; Holden Caulfield said even when he had to talk about trivial things he told little lies, for no reason he could understand. I think a lot of people enjoy that feeling of anonymity, the joy of being something different, unfathomable, even in small ways.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Love this idea. I'm with Mary and I love how she said it! I am Frankenstein all over my book!

The inspiration for my main character was a best friend who killed her self violently when she was eighteen. I had this idea that I could write her story again and give her some teachers that might help and change the course of her life. But this idea has gotten lost in a million fictions and I don't know that she resembles at all that original idea and I'm actually glad for it. So even truths become our lies. And lies become our truths. I'm totally lost now.

Sarah Dooley said...

Mary, your comment sort of framed an idea I was halfway hinting at but hadn't found the words for. I lie ALL the time, in little ways -- by not speaking up, by nodding along with people who I don't necessarily agree with -- because I'm a shy person and I don't always know how to be myself -- except when I'm writing, which is when the real me comes out. Only she still likes to hide, so it's all fictionalized. Sort of. Gee, that's clear as mud, huh?

Tina -- I'm lost, too! (As you can tell by my comment above.) There is definitely no black-and-white lies-vs.-truth when it comes to writing. Our truth gets lost in lies and our lies get lost in truth and -- and -- and my head hurts. But in a good way.