Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tiny Hypocrisies .... Big Truths

OpenSalon.com has a call out for essays on the topic: Tiny Hypocrisies.

Got one?

I certainly do. The "tiny" part, I'm not so sure of...but the Hypocrisy's true enough. One in particular. But damn, do I struggle with the truth. Only as a writer, mind you.

I pride myself on being a very honest person. Maybe that's because I don't lie well (not since I was sixteen, anyway...I had a knack for it back then). My hands get clammy, my face turns red, I stutter...If I could lie well, I have to admit that I wouldn't be so honest. See? There I go again!

But I digress. Truth is the crux of a writer's world. Truth is what makes the words come alive, the emotions jump off the page...it's what gives our essays and stories soul.

And here is my struggle: as a writer, how much do I reveal? Some writers are just so good at it (Chris Cleave comes to mind). Some writers can throw down the deepest, darkest secrets with such...confidence (Jean Whatley comes to mind) that it can not be denied. You don't read writing like that and think, "Can you believe that? Where are that woman's morals for God's sake!"

Why is it that I am always checking this moral compass of mine? If it's not pointing due North, if I've told even the tiniest of white lies, I can't so much as look in the mirror. What the hell is that?



But again, I digress. One of my college writing instructors (Steve Lattimore) once told me that the best stories are ones where the writer puts the protagonist up in a tree, throws rocks at him, and then gets him down. Well, in this "tiny hypocrisy" I am the protagonist. I certainly found myself up in a tree. And the rocks? They hurt.

But what Prof. Lattimore didn't tell me, was what happens to the protagonist once he climbs down from that tree. Do all the other people in all the other trees look down on him for having gotten himself up there in the first place? Should I care? As my grandmother used to say (I imagine she still might, if the situation called for it), "Pobody's Nerfect."

Pobody's Nerfect. There ya go.


  1. As I told the grandson, a recent high school graduate, "That little voice you will try to ignore, is the one you should listen to." It keeps you honest. But we tune it out and do things our way, and don't learn that truth for many years.
    You are a wonderful writer.

  2. Yes...like Jiminy Cricket says...; )
    Thanks Linda...that means a great deal coming from you.