Monday, November 09, 2009

What Is A Lie?

EDITORIAL: A jobless recovery is not a recovery. The recovery has not yet begun. It doesn’t begin until the rate of unemployment goes down.

WHAT IS A LIE? If I tell you a lie and you don’t believe it, then I didn’t tell a lie, I just attempted it. It takes two people -- one to tell the lie, and one to believe it.

Most of the time when someone tells you a lie, you know it’s a lie, and you let it go. That makes you a co-conspirator. I’m not being too hard about this. The average human being can’t get through the day without telling one or two small lies. Except for my first ex-wife -- she was the most honest woman I ever met, but sometimes the truth hurt too much, and I wish she had told a few lies.

Jesus began preaching at the age of 30. He didn’t tell a single lie for three years straight and it made everybody so mad they crucified him. His record still stands, by the way. The rest of us tell lies now and then. Although I wouldn’t say I was a liar, or that you are a liar. To me, a liar is someone who is in the habit of telling lies all the time, and has no regret or conscience about it, whereas most of us feel a bit squirmy when we tell a lie because we know it isn’t right. Most of us try not to tell lies.

Unless it’s a story, of course. Like here at Frog Hospital, which is almost always the truth, except when I make things up. I have standards, I don’t bend the truth, not ever, but sometimes I make the whole thing up from scratch, like this summer when I wrote about Sheila the Tarot card reader on Beaver Marsh Road. There is no Sheila, she was a complete fabrication, but it kind of ruins the story if I say that.

In the past year, I have only told ten or twelve lie that I know of, which is as good as anybody in the business.

WRITING A BOOK. I am finishing a book I started two years ago. I half-wrote it, but I began to have doubts about whether it was good or not. That’s foolishness, I now realize. I’m not in charge of deciding whether it’s good or not, I’m just supposed to write it. So I think I can finish it now.
What’s hard is living with these characters who are traveling through South Texas in 1973 and then going into Mexico -- that’s the story I’m telling, but after a few hours of concentration in this world I have created, I start to feel like I’m in outer space and it's time to come back to earth -- like a transition.

I wrote two hours early this morning on the book, and then went to Rexville for coffee, but the transition made me feel shaky. This is real work, this book-writing, and I am making this place and this story for readers. You’ll like going there if you read it, you’ll enjoy the ride. I want the book to be enjoyable and exciting. I don’t care for a rough story or anything bizarre. And I want to work as hard as I can to make it look like I wasn’t trying at all. When you read this book, you won’t see me sweat. You won’t even think about me, but you will just be in the story. That’s my goal.

But I need to learn this in-and-out business and make it smooth, so that I can work on the book with focus and concentration, like nothing else is happening -- but it’s just me and this gang of thieves in South Texas in 1973 and I’m finding out what happens next just like I’m in a movie.

I keep expecting to run into Marlon Brando playing Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was never in South Texas, but I can put him there, because it’s story. In fact, they filmed Viva Zapata in South Texas, in a little town called Roma, which is near where things happen in the book.

That’s the fun part of book-writing -- finding out if Brando or Zapata wants to be in it or not. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

But after writing for a few hours, living in this other world, I need to have some breathing exercises, as a way to get back to Planet Earth, and be here this November 9, 2009, on Fir Island, Skagit County, Washington state, USA.

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