I am a liar. I suppose there are nicer ways to say it: I’m a prevaricator, a bullshit artist, a teller of tall tales, but they all come down to the same thing, I like to tell lies. Let me give you an example:
In 1977, my sister and I were children living in a creepy, three bedroom apartment in Gloucester City, NJ. This place was the stuff of bad horror movies, with narrow halls, doorways that didn’t quite line up right, long, dark stairs, and lots fake colonial 70’s furniture. We lived there for four years and I remember, even as a child, that there was always this feeling of being watched.
One evening, my sister opened her eyes to find two figures – one tall, one child-sized – robed in black and standing over her. She stared at them for what must have seemed like hours, before finally leaping out of bed. She ran past my doorway and down the stairs shrieking the whole way. A few minutes later my mother yelled up the stairs asking me why I was scaring my sister.
My mother decided it was a nightmare, despite my sister insisting that she was awake the whole time and that the dark ghosts even turned to face her as she ran past them. We changed our mind about two years ago, when the city knocked down the apartment to build a school and the mummified remains of a mother and daughter tumbled out from behind the walls of my sister’s old room. They were wrapped in black robes. Police theorize they were killed as part of a satanic ritual by the woman’s boyfriend. He had sealed them behind the walls before fleeing the country. The apartment had remained abandoned until we had rented it almost a decade later. I called my sister as soon as I read the story in the paper and she burst into tears.
Now this story is a lie. Alot of it is true. My sister and I did live in a creepy old apartment that was knocked down a few years ago to make room for school. She did have the “dream” about the two ghosts, and still insists she was awake and that the ghosts followed her as she ran past them. The best part of the story, though – the bodies in the walls – is pure bullshit. It came to me as I was watching the construction vehicles tear down the surrounding buildings. I remembered my sister’s dream and thought, “wouldn’t it be something if…” The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t resist calling my sister and telling her it had actually happened, even going as far as asking her to check the newspaper.
Alas, the part where she burst into tears is true as well…which is not something I expected, so I immediately retracted my lie. Even though she revels in the fact that she’s the one person who can truly get under my skin, I love my sister, and I have no desire to make her upset (at least not for more than a few seconds). Really, whenever I tell these lies, it’s more about the story and the reaction, and I almost always immediately recant these untruths with a “Nah, just kidding.” So I guess you can say it’s a mostly harmless vice.
Here’s the thing. If instead of calling my sister with this tall (and regretably upsetting) tale, I had chosen to write it down, add some characterization and additional plot, and sell it to a magazine, I wouldn’t be a liar. I’d be a writer. And, boys and girls, I truly believe if there was one thing on this earth I was born to do, it is to be a writer.
Unfortunately, as many of you know, making up the lies is only half the battle. You need to put them to paper (or I guess more accurately to electrons). You need to polish them, exercise them, make them sing. And that, my friends, is where I am lacking. It’s where I hamstring myself with this ability to lie to myself. Because I tell myself there is no time, I have more important things on my plate, I’ll start after work settles down, after the kids get older, after the kids move out, when I retire, when I die..it goes on and on…and as the years pass, my writing muscles have become flabby….. This is where this blog comes in.
KnippKnopp is going to become my Weight Watchers for writing, my Gold’s Gym for building up the creative muscle. Idealistic? Absolutely, but maybe, just maybe, the act of putting hand to keyboard for something other than functional design documents and interface specs (yes, doing this IS as awful as it sounds), will kick-start me and start to get those writing muscles warmed up and moving. If you want to follow along during my training, perhaps hand me a metaphorical water bottle of praise or throw me some workout tips on how to make my stuff stronger….well I have no ego here, I welcome it all.
I plan on doing a number of things with this blog: Humorous tales of growing up as a geek in Gloucester and thoughts on the world today. I’ll take you along as I run my first Pathfinder RPG campaign and keep you updated on the stories I’m working and trying to sell. Most importantly, I simply hope to share in my journey as I move from liar to writer. It should be a gas… I sure hope you will come along with me! I have lots of tales to tell…