Sweet little lies – we all tell them and I guess for the most part, people do because sweet little lies can act as a social lubricant. We all want to to be liked don’t we, we all want to get along and have friends, don’t we? Telling sweet little lies to protect the other person, to smooth the way, to hide a truth too painful to tell is acceptable … isn’t it … or is it?
I lied to protect my mother. I followed her example, withholding the truth, hiding. I told lies only when I had to, when I was asked a direct question. Questions like: where’s your dad and who’s that woman your mum is with?
When I left home, it became easier. People stopped asking those kinds of questions and I told fewer lies. I became good at hiding though. Avoidance and listening became my new strategies. I discovered if I became the listener and the enquirer, I could avoid revealing anything about myself and my history. It worked. In fact it worked too well. People generally like to talk about themselves and the more I enquired of others, the more I listened, the smaller I became. I didn’t realise I was killing myself inside until it was too late; I had all but lost myself, all but vanished and my mother had died. It was too late to greet her human being to human being, to stop lying to protect her and to ask her to face the truth.
When the lying stops and we turn to face the truth, we see wonder. I believe my mother revealed her truth and discovered wonder. She did it her way.
And the writing? What’s all this got to do with writing? What’s this to do with Fact v Fiction?
Back in July, after a 121 with my writing mentor where I’d been talking about struggling with my book in terms of structure, she suggested I considered writing my book as a memoir. She advised I read some memoirs and look for a memoir writing workshop.
I was catapulted into no mans land, a metaphorical place where I felt empty, depleted of creative energy. I struggled, I was miserable, my mojo disappeared. I flip-flopped between my desire to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and my desire to write creatively, to write to entertain, to tell an interesting story, to develop my characters, to share and to interweave character arc, plot and theme. In short, to write the best book I am capable of writing, primarily for the reader but also for for me. For the last few months, I have been floundering with the whole memoir v fiction thing. Thankfully, I have pulled myself from the doldrums. I have spent time reflecting on how much I have really enjoyed writing fiction, albeit interlaced with experiences, personal and observed. I have finally decided I am writing a hybrid novel and this feels empowering!
Fact v Fiction? Who cares! I write because I see truth and wonder. I write because I enquire of myself, I listen and I speak. I write to discover the truth inside, not just tell it.
Do I still lie? Yes, I do, sweet little lies only of course!
Do I still hide? No! I am visible and available for contact.
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