Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard

We always have to make choices about how we spend our time. It seems to me something has to be left undone or never started. We can, we are told organize our lives in such a way that we can get it all done. If we get up early enough, are organized enough we can read the books we should read, exercise to be fit and healthy, cook healthy meals, keep our homes spotless, spend quality time with our spouse and children, stay on top of current events and make ourselves look like supermodels every day.

Whew, I’m tired already. I gave up all that, a long time ago and settled for what I think is “Good enough.”  Perfection is the enemy of the good and we need to cut ourselves some slack. Some slack, but not too much slack, or our lives can fall into disarray. How do we walk the fine balance?

In the early years of raising kids, I had no time for reading except children’s books. Fortunately, some of the best books are children’s books. Who can forget “The Little Engine that Could?” How many of us when we hit a tough spot have found the words, “I think I can, I think I can” going through our mind? Who can read “I’ll Love You Forever” without tearing up? Didn’t we all relate to “The Velveteen Rabbit” as well-loved stuffed animals became embarrassingly threadbare and discolored?

We get through our children’s early years and then we are into dance lessons, hockey, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, karate, music lessons, and other activities that leave us with no time. Finally, our children grow up and we have a little breathing room for activities of our own. If we have something we want to do, now is the time to do it. We will still have to put things off to have time for things that seem more important. We will still have to choose how we spend our time. We will only make time to join a band, write a book, take a class, paint, go to the gym, or whatever we have dreamed of doing when we finally have time to do it if we carve out time for it. This is my time for…  and we stick to it.

Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about. W.H. Auden

Many people tell me they want to write a book. They have a story to tell but they don’t want to hurt any feelings. I wonder if any of us can tell the “True” story. The “True” story has many sides and ours is only one of them. I believe in “The Lie that Tells a Truth” fictionalize your story and tell the truth but combine many stories into one for two reasons. If we don’t have to worry about getting the facts straight but instead can get to the heart of the story so people will understand what went on and how it impacted others we can tell the story by getting into the minds of the characters and showing their feelings and reactions. As we do this we may come away understanding the motivations or think we understand the motivations of those who may have hurt us intentionally or unintentionally. Many people, who hurt others, are hurt people themselves. In a novel, we can explore what made people into who they are and what changed them. We can redeem unredeemable characters; we can do the thing we wish we’d done.

The trickiest book to write would be an autobiography, where we are writing about our own life, and the second trickiest would be a biography where we are writing about someone else’s. Can we ever know anyone completely? Do we even know ourselves completely? Do we know the motivations that led to success or failure? What we leave out and what we include will color a story? How can someone’s niece, even a trained psychologist understand all the events that impacted someone? Would it have been better to have written a work of fiction where more could be said to understand someone? Something like, “Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham or Ayn Rand books.

If we have a story to tell, when are we going to start telling it?

There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem. Jim Thompson

I believe in not quite knowing. A writer needs to be doubtful, questioning. I write out of curiosity and bewilderment… I’ve learned a lot I could not have if I were not a writer. William Trevor

We want to know more about people who fail. We care about people who are scared, who act foolishly, who are tricked by their vanity and trapped by their desires…. Flawed characters are the unforgettable ones. Susan Shaughnessy

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Lie That Tells a Truth Paperback – Aug. 10 2004

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)


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