Recently I was giving a talk on Theme, and I realized that AS YOU WISH, my April 2011 release, has truth and honesty as a major topic in the novel. Haven’t we all heard that lying is bad? Isn’t honesty the best policy? Well, I’m here to say the subject isn’t that black and white. I honestly believe that lies have an important place in this world.
Of course, I believe that honesty is necessary in a relationship, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Nothing irritates me more than a story where the hero believes he must always tell the truth when a good lie would let him get away from the villain. That’s just stupidity. Huck Finn lies throughout his story, yet we admire him because his lies are good lies. He lies to protect himself, to protect Jim, and to survive. I have nothing but admiration for someone who does that. (Yes, I am currently teaching the novel so it’s kind of in my head right now)
So does that mean you can’t trust me? Far from it. I am totally honest with friends and family, but if you ask me if your butt looks big in your jeans, unless you are my bosom buddy, I’m not going to tell you that you look awful. I will point out if you have spinach in your teeth, because that’s an easy fix and I’d hope someone would tell me if I did.
So I can understand lying, if the motive is there. I tell my students that I will always tell them the truth (at least as I see it), but that doesn’t mean I won’t lie to them. That leaves them scratching their heads for a while. But sometimes a lie is important and necessary.
And that’s the truth.
Books I’m reading now:
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald