The Truthful Lies

There was a story my grandmother told me that changed each time she told it.

It was about family, which is where we are both most and least truthful.

It is a story that aged with me. I can remember how old I was by what details she told me and which details were changed or removed.

My grandmother would never have thought of herself as lying.

She wasn’t.

The story told me more about her than it ever did about the family tragedy at its core.

I think of this often when a character speaks on a detail that exposes them, deliberately or not.

It is not that I write unreliable narrators.

It is that by the very nature of stories, a careful listener will learn more about the teller than they will about the events that are spoken.

We tell stories to share and to say the things that sometimes we cannot present as ourselves.

When my character lies, I think of the truth they are exposing about themselves, about me.

We are at our most naked when we share these words.

I will perform magic in front of you and clothe myself in a story told by my grandmother, too distant from my own voice for you to read my truths.

Only one of these things is a lie.


Lies that bridge our path to truth


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