I’m A Terrible Liar: An Author’s Dilemma

Here's the thing: I'm a terrible liar. And yet, I lie for a living.

My husband, aka Better-Than-Boyfriend, will tease me relentlessly about the fact that I'm so Lawful-Good that I won't deviate from a hiking path in the middle of nowhere if there are No Trespassing signs posted, but not blink an eye when I talk about the most preposterous, ridiculous, crazy book ideas. It seems to be a paradox, but in fact, it isn't. I sat down to think about it when I decided that Mo Willems probably explained it best when he was talking about his third Knufflebunny book: (and I paraphrase) that every word in it is a lie, but the story is true because the feelings are real. The reason why I can write preposterous, ridiculous, crazy books is because, in some sense, they are real to me.

Feeling like an outsider looking in, feeling like you don't belong, feeling other forces are at work and things are beyond your control, feeling like you want to take a stand for what's right and stand up against the impossible wrongs that are so much bigger than you, feeling that you would do anything for your best friend, or feeling like there is someone out there--somewhere--just for you and that they are looking for you, too; these are all real. And whether the story is set in a high school, and alternate dimension, a fairy castle, or outer space, it resonates and touches something that is familiar and therefore, in some ways, true. I think the most powerful thing about fiction is that it can take the hard "What If?" questions and strip them of the things that make them realistically insurmountable and face them head-on. If we weren't limited by "what's so" then what is possible? Or, better yet, is anything impossible?

So despite the fact that a combination of Jewish guilt and a face any poker player would laugh at qualifies me for the starring role of Worst Liar Ever, I am a genre fiction writer and I love it there because what I want to say is 100% true.


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