Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The truth in the lies

I have a pile of words on the desk in front of me. Most of them are other people's - books I want to read because in my head there is some sort of connection between them, and the book I am working on. Well, I'm not quite working on it yet. Some of those words are mine, the printed out draft of my book in progress, and the notebook where the roughest version is scribbled, and the pages of revision notes I've made for myself.

You may notice that instead of working on that revision, I am writing this post.

I have been reading a lot of memoirs lately, because I am very interested in the process of honesty in writing. This may be odd, coming from a fiction writer, and a speculative fiction writer at that - I get paid for making things up, after all - but I believe that, at a certain level, to be good, a piece of writing has to be true. Not mimetic, but true.

I was talking with one of my friends this weekend, and mentioned feeling very emotionally strange recently. I get teary, it seems, at the least thing, which isn't customary for me. She asked me what I was writing.

And that's it, of course, and it's also the reason that I keep finding things to do, rather than picking up the pen and that stack of paper (my kitchen cupboards need cleaning, I know they do.) It's not nonfiction, what I'm writing, but there are parts in it that are requiring me to look back at moments that were hard. To live in past relationships and places that I walked away from on purpose. And if it's going to be good, if it's going to be true, I have to be honest about those emotions.

Which is a hard thing to do. Because I want to protect myself from the hurt, but if I do that, I can't write this book. I need to write this book.

My kitchen may get very clean in the process, but I need to write this book, and to write it honestly. To put the truth in. To make it matter.


  1. I am reminded of this from DS9

    Bashir: What I want to know is, out of all the stories you told me which ones
    were true and which ones weren't?
    Garak: My dear doctor...they're all true.
    Bashir: Even the lies?
    Garak: Especially the lies.

  2. Sometimes when we have to dig deep like this, there's a certain something, a certain time, that arrives on a schedule of its own choosing, no matter how we avoid, or eagerly anticipate, and then ... we just KNOW, it's time to start writing. This 'thing' is as inevitable as the sun rising.