One hobby I’ve developed is watching–and learning–when people lie. Writers are good observers, I believe, and we often become magpies of human behavior. We sit, we listen, we take the stimuli in and sort through it, stacking the dainty treasures into our writing closet to pick ideas from later. The collection is our mermaid cove of dainty human curiosities…
I’ve watched people lie to themselves–and to me–quite often. I usually don’t realize I’ve been lied to until later, after a track record of deceits have built up. Once you have enough data to form a baseline about a person, however, you begin to develop a sense of knowing if they actually mean what they say, as they say it. Your ears will pick up on their stealthy footsteps and you’ll hear them scooting awkwardly around that uncomfortable thing called Truth. You’ll remember their past behaviors and you’ll wait for the lie to fall, like a hand basket of dry bones hitting the ground.
“Yes, I’ll look into that”; “I agree with you”; “I’ll do that one day”; or my favorite “I’ll speak with them.” Squeak-squeak-squeak. I watch them squeeze themselves tightly behind the monolith stone letters of Truth and into the Labyrinth of Lies. And then I’ve lost them, it seems.
Sometimes liars get stuck at the labyrinth’s entrance and struggle with their morality. I watch them fidget, play with their necklace or avert eye contact altogether. But once they’re inside the labyrinth, they tend to go deeper. What’s one “good” lie without another to keep it company, right?
I usually attempt to observe liars from afar, as liars can develop into dangerous people. My favorite kind of liar (said with something like dark sarcasm) are high liars, or those whom the rules never apply to. I’ve known people like this, have watched them skillfully manipulate others in real time, over and over. Their lack of guilt, their satisfaction at getting what they want, is as audible as a lock clicking into place. Some are so good at lying that when confronted they fake guilt in order to appease your conscience. If that level of manipulation doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
Lying is a theme in my current novel I’m working on–GOTD. It was also a theme in my last book, Memory Bound. Have you read my book yet? Or would you be lying if you said yes?
Fly the straight and narrow road, Arcians. Correct course as needed, several times a day. Keep on writing. Cheers.