July, 2016

It would seem unusual to me, I think, if I were to meet an excellent writer who was not also an accomplished liar. Even writers whose bread and butter are their alleged integrity — journalists, for example– have to believe in the truth of their words, and run the risk of these word being deceitful, if unwittingly or unwillingly so. We are aware that a “good” writer is not defined by a certain prose style, but by their originality, and the conviction they have in their own creation. The job of writing is so often to convince the reader; to convince of a certain idea, political leaning, theory; to convince of the reality of an imagined world and intangible people. No amount of words, rhetoric, poetry, can do a thing justice; at some point, all writers are liars.

“Liar” is a dramatic word, though, a word I expect others to take issue with. You would not lie, no– but, perhaps, “willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation”? Most certainly. And, let me tell you, it is better to be a good liar.

The best liars are those who can also convince themselves.

I gave up journaling because it seemed self-indulgent. All this “my day” and “I” drivel. A anthology of tedious thoughts, emotions. I was uncomfortable with it, also. But I have reverted back, lately, to this mode of expression. It was not intentional.

But, sometimes, life happens; sometimes, people happen to you, and all you can think to do is give them some sort of recognition. Have you never written on a scrap of paper, a napkin, a receipt, some snippet of conversation, the color of a person’s eyes, their strange tick, some pulp of history they divulged to you in an unassuming, unintentional way?

Before, I would have prevaricated. That is what my poetry was known for, at least to me: never directly saying what I meant. Not so, at the moment.

I don’t know that all this truth-telling is making me a better writer. Perhaps, a better scientific writer.

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