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Truth & Lies… Or Is It “Truths & Lie”?

February 19, 2010

J. Kingston Pierce over at The Rap Sheet recently tapped me for a little challenge that’s been making the rounds on the Web. The Bald-Faced Liar (aka “Creative Writer”) Award got its start last month with a posting by Arizona library manager and book critic Lesa Holstine, and with chain-letter persistency, it seems to have been making its way through the blogosphere ever since — leaving in its wake both a swath of creativity and not a little bit of bafflement. I’m still puzzling over whether Jeff has been spending more time with Bucky Fuller or Amy Adams or….

I have to admit I love this kind of game, and I’ve occasionally used some version of it as a first-week exercise in some of the creative writing classes that I’ve taught at Mason. In the classroom, the challenge is to write three paragraphs about yourself — two lies, one true — and see who you can fool. It’s actually a good exercise, both for fiction writing and for creative nonfiction. What writing strategies prove the most convincing? What details give the ring of veracity? Or, alternately, what doesn’t sound true on the page?

Here are the rules for the current challenge:

  • Thank the person who gave this to you. (Hats off to the good Mr. Pierce!)
  • Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth — or switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
  • Nominate seven “Creative Writers” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies of their own.
  • Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
  • Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know that you have nominated them.

For better or worse, I’ve added a little edge to the list here: a travelogue of misdeeds, delinquency, sin, and scandal. But is it six lies and one truth? Or six truths and one lie? Whatever the breakdown, each item below is either COMPLETELY true or COMPLETELY false.

  1. Trying to impress a girl, I ripped the door off of my mom’s convertible while backing out of the garage. Needless to say, I made an impression.
  2. Several summers after high school graduation, my boarding school roommate and I broke into our old dorm room with a bottle of Smirnoff, a bottle of Bacardi and a pack of Lucky Strikes just to stomp on some of the rules we’d always adhered to as really straight-laced kids. Campus police found us in the wee hours of the morning, but just asked us to lock up when we were done. We drained the bottles but only finished part of the cigarettes — and would’ve checked off “no girls on dorm” too, but both of us were single.
  3. At lunch today, I drank from a mug that I snuck out the window of a pizza joint my freshman year in college. (And I just found out earlier this week that the restaurant has closed — hopefully not because of lack of inventory.)
  4. I sold my first short story to a magazine whose tagline was “Erotic Entertainment By Women For Men.” The editors only know me as Anne Taylor.
  5. The staff at my last job threw me a going-away party that escalated into a state scandal, making front-page headlines in the capital city’s newspaper and being featured on the local nightly news.
  6. I’ve slept with a librarian — but never had sex in a library.
  7. Friends and family have said that I’m the most moral person they know.

So…. I’ve listed the seven rules. I’ve listed the seven truths/lies. All that’s left is passing this along to seven lucky (or unlucky) folks out there. Hmmm…. Whom to choose?

And congrats as well to Mr. Steinbock for his great fiction debut in the recent Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine! “Cleaning Up” is a terrific story from start to finish.

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2 comments

  1. Really?!?! You’ve given me homework? This I will have to ponder. But for the sake of being obvious, I’ll be 99 % of these lists go 6 truths /1 lie, for the simple fact that “writers” can’t help but promote what they think is true about themselves. My guess is that your # 6 is the lie, in the “strike that-reverse it” mode.


    • Hmm…. I’ll try not to take offense to the fact that “writers” is in quotes. ;-)



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