An obvious cliche is defined by one the most natural and primitive motive by human nature: lying. Why is it such a cliche? Well, I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass, or tell a cock ‘n bull story story, or pee on your leg and tell you it’s raining, because, I’m quite sure you’ve heard it all before so I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The art of lying is much older than the oldest profession in the world, and yes, both are considered viral and can be harmful. After all, who wants to get caught with their pants down in either situation?
Of course lying leads down the road of questioning morality. Large lies are destructive. Marriages and friendships fall apart. Wars rage on. Politicians stay in business. You know the deal. Small lies are forgivable. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings with the small stuff. Or we just don’t really feel like going to work or taking our kids to the park because we’re just too tired and need a break. So the margin between how we justify telling lies can easily be deluded or misunderstood, thereby creating this moral conundrum.
I am one of the biggest liars I know. Every time I sit in front of a computer I tell lies consistently, obsessively. Why? Because I write fiction. The stories I tell are half true, half false. And the best part about it, you believe what I tell. When you begin to process that concept, it’s really an incredible experience we both share, and it’s as natural as breathing. Logically we should reject this acceptance. My father, the engineer, rejects it. He doesn’t read fiction because he would rather fill his mind with information that’s legitimate and direct. But for the rest of us, we not only marvel in it, we dip our entire souls into it because it feels good. It releases a part of our imagination that we can’t operate in the physical world.
So, yes, I write fiction. And I write fiction with a historical twist. Although I dig deeply into research, I chose to reproduce history in a fictitious form. It’s like having immunity. I can break off story lines from real events, and then turn around to commit forgery without blame. If you think about it, it sounds bad; however there is a legitimate purpose. Fiction, like all other art, serves a higher calling. It allows an opportunity to blend real-life people into one character as a representative, a symbol of who that character represents, whether a crusader for equality or an irredeemable brute, to bring forth criticism and awareness. Fiction doesn’t fall far from the truth. It has to come from somewhere authentic, otherwise readers will have no commonality to grasp upon.
I believe writing about history in a fictional context can be intellectually, spiritually, and humanely liberating. Fact or fiction, the art of lying unveils misconceptions about ourselves, our humanity, and our future. We lie, we reinforce. We gossip, we self-destruct. We seek, we fail. We grow, we die. But always we hope. To escape. To learn. To rediscover. To reinvent. It matters, all, it matters because we are here. I encourage this philosophy: Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.
So, if you think I’m trying to pull wool over your eyes, or even trying to pull your leg, then you’re right. I am. That’s my job. And I hope you ponder over what I tell you. Let us explore our vices outside of our everyday life. Let us think about how reading fiction, that, although is regarded as false and abstract, can reveal truths about ourselves. About our humanity. And allow a freedom to examine these controversies with creativity and heart. This type of lying can actually be a good thing.