Thursday, July 2, 2009

Visions of being King

A post over on Patricia Wood's blog, got me thinking about writing. I posted this in her comments.

My dad is a great story-teller. Not the fictional, sitting around the camp-fire ghost story kind. Just the everyday experiences of his life kind. Ever since I was a kid I can remember listening to him tell stories of things he'd done in his life. I discovered around high school that I had no such gift. I couldn't remember what happened last week, let alone what happened five years ago.

So I started to concoct stories up about my exploits. I worked at Disney World for a semester in college (sweeping cigarette butts) and I had all kinds of story-lines I doled out. My favorite one was I went to the lady who made our name tags and told her I lost mine. And I had her make me a "Chip" name tag (My first name is Dale) and I went around telling everyone I was twins. "Yeah, my parents were huge Disney fans, and they named us after those annoying chipmunks."

Another time I was working at a rock concert selling T-shirts and I convinced a group of girls I had fled South Africa during apartheid because I didn't like how the blacks were treated. (I'm white, born and raised in Ohio but I did a pretty good South African/British accent.) I even took it a step further and told them I was number 364th in line for the throne of England.

Then somewhere around the end of my college years, I started to realize something. I wasn't telling stories, I was flat out lying. My conscience started to eat away at me a bit. So I gave it up. Quit cold turkey. Got boring.

Then I discovered writing. The beautiful thing about writing is you can lie all over the place. You can make up the grandest stories, and as long as you make it believable, you can lie, lie lie. I was hooked. I guess I never really thought about it before, but this is probably the main reason I like writing so much. While I'm writing I can at least capture a little bit of that feeling, back when I wasn't so ordinary, and had visions of being King.

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