I tell lies all the time, mostly for my own entertainment. I will exaggerate the awfulness of the journey home,
I had to wait hours ’n’ hours for a train…
To tell the truth,
I will retell conversations in which I appear much wittier than I was in reality.
If I’m honest,
if someone asks me a difficult question, I will make up an answer if I don’t know, and although I would always advise others to admit to not knowing, I will only do this myself if I can’t make something up fast enough. So if I ever tell you I don’t know the answer, either you’ve really flummoxed me or your question wasn’t interesting enough to spark a flight of fancy. Sorry to be blunt, but that’s candour for you.
it’s quite alarming how often my made up answer turns out to be right. And if part way into my complex and entertaining invention I realise it can’t possibly be right, I will own up and say,
To be honest with you
I’m making this up from whole cloth.
(Whole as opposed to what? Patchwork? Patchwork would be more appropriate really, but it does have a rather satisfying feel of cutting the cloth to suit oneself, and of starting from the never used before, pristine state of … imaginative ignorance.)
Truth be told,
I tell very truthful lies; I reinvent the world how it ought to have been. Yes, the train was delayed for 4 minutes and disappeared off the board when it was due in a rather sinister fashion, but the snow wasn’t that deep.
Sometimes, I catch myself in mid embroider, and think,
Why are you doing that? You’ll get caught out eventually.
But then if I didn’t invent a different, more interesting world I wouldn’t be much of a writer.
I lead a blameless mundane life generally, perhaps I need the frisson of danger, and it doesn’t do any harm does it, little white lies embroidered all over my whole cloth? Perhaps it’s a sign of an over active imagination, or a mind with too little to occupy it, or a distraction technique… perhaps the truth is too horrible to contemplate.
And if I did tell the truth, if I was honest with you, would it make any difference, actually? I mean really, truly?
But then, you can’t be sure I’m telling the truth now, can you?
(very possibly) copyright Cherry Potts 2011