Monday, October 12, 2009

My Dear Sweet Dirty Rotten Liars

"Any story told twice is fiction." Grace Paley

Dearest liars, this is what we have in common -- our natural deceitfulness. Novels are long lies. It's hard to keep it up. But if we think we're telling the truth, if the deceit starts there, if we lie best when we lie to ourselves, then it is the truth ...

Flaubert doesn't even impose that kind of logic. "Everything one invents is true."

Ironically, what we want is the truth. We ask a lot of the reader -- feel it the way I feel it.

Think of Rat Kiley in Tim O'Brien's 'Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong," the guy who if he said he'd slept with four girls one night, you could figure it was about a girl and a half. "...he wanted to heat of the truth, to make it burn so hot that you would feel exactly what he felt."

So if we felt a moment at the level of say, a seven, then we hype in the storytelling to a twelve. Upping what happens, hyping the lie, all that can help. But, really, words aren't flimsy translations for life. You have to trust them. They'll do the good work.