Dad taught me to create fiction, to tell a lie in order to reveal a deeper truth. At the time, his method seemed less a blessing, more a curse. No matter. He taught me well.
Or, as my niece insists, “Of course you write fiction, you’re a big fat liar, just like Grandpa.”
Liar, writer. Potato, potaaato.
I appreciate this gift of Dad’s more now than I did as a child. It took me forty years to paw through all the truths I accumulated in my youth, asking myself, “Wait now. Where did you gain that knowledge?” If the information came from Dad, I looked it up. Sought verification.
Which is the other gift Dad gave me. I have a finely tuned bullshit detector. That’s no small blessing.
But, I digress.
Dad would tell about some incident that happened in his life and when he got to the part that was the equivalent of, “So, I said to the guy on the polka-dot elephant, roll that purple parasol up real small, and stick it. . .”
I’d interrupt. “Dad! I was there.” Meaning, I saw with my own eyes that not one word of this story actually happened.
Dad wouldn’t even blink. He’d grin wide. “Well, then,” he’d say. “So you know I’m telling the truth.” And he’d go right on with his story as though I had seen the same events as him.
Thanks, Dad. You taught me the power of fiction. It’s served me well.