It’s hard to tell the truth. Sometimes it’s liberating. There are moments while writing this memoir where I write something true that I had not quite realized before. I love those moments.
But the lies. Oh the lies. I lie without meaning to, and sometimes I don’t catch it from draft to draft. Last night I was reading a chapter and there was just a small detail about my walking home with a suitcase dragging behind me. Wait. I’ve never owned a proper suitcase. I am not one of those well-dressed women you see walking through the city with a wheeled suitcase bouncing over the sidewalk behind them. Nope. I am the woman whose hair is falling out of a knot with an unwieldy overnight bag slung over my shoulder walking home when I should have probably just gotten a cab.
Other lies are more subtle. I have a brain like a steel sieve. I don’t remember the exact conversations that I write about. And so I have to make it up. One of my favorite parts of the memoir is capturing my parents’ voices on the page. But are they things that each person would have actually said? Have I exaggerated for effect? Will my sisters call me out?
What do you lie about in your writing?