“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” —George Orwell
Welcome to the modern age, or maybe just my cynical view of it on a cloudy afternoon. It seems that all we have around us these days are lies. For goodness’ sake, even little pieces of Frosted Mini Wheats lie to us, saying they can make our kids do better in school. There seems to be, in fact, a general consensus that we can’t handle the truth. Heck, we’re so jaded that a poor guy runs his car into a tree or fire hydrant, and we’ve got him convicted of driving under the influence, having a mistress, and probably selling secrets to the Russians.
Enters the writer, to tell a tale, the intentional lie. We go so far nowadays as to put disclaimers that if anything or anyone in the story resembles reality the reader should chalk it up to coincidence (not irony, coincidence). The stories are fictitious, nothing but lies we proclaim with the very heading. We writers should fit right in, shouldn’t we?
For all the lies we tell, fibs we might call them, our writing has power and impact only in proportion to the truth we can surreptitiously weave in the midst of a fanciful story. The place may be as remote as unexplored space, but the fears of being alone speak to many an honest soul. The situation may be as far-fetched as zombies who resemble Karl Marx, but an earnest desire to be an individual rings true. The heroine may be as unlikely as misguided fairy, but that need to make a difference hits home.
So go on, tell me some lies. Just make them good ones.