…..which is to say, sadly, that mine is rather running dry. I don’t think I’m having a writer’s block, but I have this weird staleness about me. Or maybe it’s just fear that what I write isn’t really very good; and fear that what I might edit might be even worse –like a mirror focused on your worst feature and which refuses to move.
My grandmother was a compulsive liar: a teller of magnificent and seamless lies, most of which she ended up believing up to a point. Not true: she was too good a liar to believe her own lies, but she certainly cherished their effect on others. She knew that she wove a deliciously well-crafted deception and she was good at it. Her lying was like fine tatting lace: so flawless it looks like it just materialized that way. Now every time I think about lying, I have this weird ambivalence about lies. On the one hand, there is the imaginative marble-rolling and fountains spinging to life thing: the magic of being someone else; someone glamourous and magical and otherworldly. On the other hand, there is the sepulchral web of half-truths that spin out of control and choke you slowly.
I used to lie about everything. And most of the time, I got rewarded by it. On a couple of occasions, however, I lost good friends to my casual and often pedestrian –and glaringly sloppy– lying.
To be a good liar, you have to keep track of things: that’s the cardinal rule of liars and con men. And not just keeping track of the big whoppers; everything you say from the genesis of the lie will doom you to that track of deception until people hopefully forget. And you would be surprised to find out the weird things people remember. Or how long they can remember them.
When my grandmother died –a little over seven years ago– I was finally aware for the first time, truly and consciously aware, that people can see through the lies as if they were shit smearings on a white sheet. That foul, and that blatant, indeed. And that’s also when I realized that little lies pave the way to seamless big whopper lies, but that little lies are by far more life-obtrusive. Example:
Why was I late to meeting you? (pick the lie!)
Because I am awful at keeping track of time and thought I could check my email for the forty-fifth time this afternoon and remember how unpopular I am right now. OR… Because you would not believe the traffic! Who knew that I’d get stuck behind every single senior citizen driver on God’s green earth? Don’t you just hate slow drivers?
Yes. Number two is a flithy other-blaming lie. But it sounds sooooo clever and plus anyone can relate! That is, until you pull ten versions of the same line because the truth is so self-blaming, self-hating and unflattering you’d rather not hear it. And if you admitted it once to your lying, cheating self, you might for once in your life be on time. Or burst into tears, whatever came first.
Because it is true that the truth (*chuckle*) can set you free. But not all of us want to be free.