Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lie Baby Lie

I cannot lie. It is frustrating. Forget about lying to a real audience, an action with a consequence. I cannot lie to my journal, that no one will read, probably not even myself :)

Lying without consequences. Does such a thing exist?

I lie under pressure, of course. When someone expects something from me and I cannot say no, not directly, in her face. Then, I say, `I "have to" go, sorry I "cannot" stay ...' and so on, when in fact, I want to go, I can stay but I do not like to stay, and so on. Lying is a necessary defense mechanism. Fine.

But the lying I am concerned with here, in this post, is creative thinking, imagination, constructing and fabricating something out of nothing. No wonder I could not do research, I have completely blocked the main source of original and creative work.

Since I was a teenager, every time I started writing a journal, I documented daily events in great length and details. I would call that "event accounting''. The main purpose of accounting is to record things with outmost fidelity to the truth!

Last May (2012), my friend Ali gave me a black Moleskine notebook, a birthday present. The first few months I did the usual event accounting. After a while, out of boredom, I decided to add my thoughts and interpretations. Gradually, they replaced the "event accounting''. But this was a difficult process. It is much easier to do a faithful accounting of events than to ``think" originally and come up with your own words and expressions :)

A few days ago, I finally gave myself permission to fabricate things, in my journal notebook. I wrote a few stories that were completely made up, with little or no resemblance to truth. It felt really awesome! Last evening, I had a moment of understanding the magic of words. Why does anyone want to swear to words, or to the pen and what it bleeds.

However, I had to make it clear, somehow, that I was writing a story.

Today, as I started writing, I thought what if I mix truth and lies, my imaginations in my journal, without marking them as such and separating them? An amazing fear, terror, came over me. The source of the fear, as far as I can distinguish, is something like this: What if years later, I read this journal and think that my lies were actually true? What if I lose the sense of what is real and what is imaginary? What if I forget the story of my life and the sense of my "Self"?!?

I am not sure how well I can describe this. Yesterday, the same Ali came for a visit, and I tried to explain these new developments for him. As soon as I started speaking, I realized that I cannot describe things the way I wanted. He was looking at me with alternating expressions of, `This is trivial!' and `You are out of your mind!'. He was polite not to mention it though.

Anyway, imagine that you are writing events of your day in a journal and all of a sudden, without any warning or any marks, you infuse your imagination and mix truth and lies. Try it and let me know how it feels!

PS-1. I just discussed this with the barista, a high school girl (Lexi), and she said that she used to have the same fears when she started writing fiction. And her suggestion was to keep two journals, one for facts and one for fact-and-fiction-mixed.

PS-2. I just remembered that the sense of "self" in us, human beings, is closely related to the stories we tell ourselves. Our identity is essentially a long story of events!
Radiolab program: Who I am []
This is very exciting, because in order to know who you are, you want to examine the story of your life and maybe tell different versions of it, until you discover which one rings more true. Then, the outmost reality of our true self is inside a lie, a fiction, a story. Isn't it amazing?!?

PS-3. I just tried it. It reminded me of the few sessions of "free association'' that I did with my therapist. In free association, you are free to say whatever comes to your mind, truth or imagination or lie, does not matter. And yet, it is a terrifying process to be free, to let yourself be free, truly free.

PS-4. I have every reason to fear lying. I do not remember my parents lying to me. My mother's family have an obsession with being honest, truthful, and just. My father, too, being an engineer cares a lot about objectivity. When you deal with electricity, for example, you cannot ignore the facts or you will be damn electrocuted!
Therefore, I am so proud of my new adventures outside the realm of my upbringing :)

Have a short piece of music---Granados, Spanish Dances, No.3, Zarabanda

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