Two Lies and a Truth

For today’s writing doodle, I tried something I haven’t done in a long time: writing with pen and paper. Writing with pen and paper, not worrying about red squiggly lines under misspelled words or editing as I write, allowed for a true flow of thought. Whether it led anywhere or not (or if it even made sense), it really allowed me to let my thoughts flow and create a true writing doodle.

I have to confess, however, that I was a bit loopy on nighttime cold medication when I wrote this… so the flow of thought may be very disjointed, loose and, well, flowy. I did enjoy writing this entry, despite the haze of cold medicine, but I’m slightly worried I didn’t make a point by the end of the doodle, or if it’s even a good one.

But, in the spirit of sticking to my purpose of sharing my writing, I’m choosing to look beyond perfection and just keep writing. Maybe nothing will come off of this doodle, but maybe the next doodle will be better.

This entry is a response to the following prompt, taken from 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco’s Writers’ Grotto“There are often three reasons for something: the reason we tell others, the reason we tell ourselves and the real reason. Write about the war among the three.”

Enjoy! Let me know what you think of these thoughts in the comments.

Writing on white lined pages.
What this entry looks like in my journal. Can you spot the horrendous typo?

The war among the three. The war is really about courage, courage to know the difference between the three reasons, and the implications of each one.

The war among the three is about empathy, how the different reasons, that are really a game of two lies and a truth, would affect others and our relationship with them.

Even for the most mundane of circumstances, every circumstance that requires an explanation, the implications vary. It could be as simple as why you changed your coffee order one day: “I was in the mood for a change” versus “I really wanted to try a different drink today” versus “I feel like my life has lost excitement and is getting out of my control, so this new coffee order will provide a change of pace that will inspire a bigger, more fulfilling and profound change in my life.”

What about the less pedestrian circumstances that require an explanation?

Why don’t you get the same sense of relief and happiness when you see your partner walk through the door of the home you share at the end of the day? “I saw them just this morning before we both went to work” versus “I didn’t miss them today” versus “I’m feeling suffocated and unfulfilled, and I don’t know how long I’ve been feeling like this, but  I don’t know why I don’t miss them when I don’t see them anymore.”

Especially when it comes to change, no matter how seemingly insignificant or infinitesimal, there is never harmony among the three reasons (the two lies and one truth) behind the change. Each reason then requires its own examination into their own two lies and one truth, and once we get to the inevitable center of the spiral, the real reason, the real truth behind a particular change, we can finally arrive at harmony. The truce of the war among the three.

This examination, of course, takes courage. Courage to not only ask the questions in the first place, but courage to answer each one truthfully within ourselves. Is there wisdom in knowing the difference? Is there wisdom in getting to the center of the spiral?

Would it be a cop-out, a cowardly dodge to the courage that it would otherwise take, to have the three reasons, the two lies and one truth, be concentric circles instead? They do, after all, exist within one another, for two have to always be lies for the one to be the truth.

This assumption then begs the question, which reason could be the truth? What degree of courage would it take to recognize we’re lying to ourselves? Which lie would be easier to tell?

So, as long as there’s change, there will always be a war among the three, because one of the three will not be like the others, and only with courage will we be able to, honestly, point to the real reason.

Character Wearing Something Red

I’ve had the workbook 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto for a few years, but I’ve only filled in a few entries. Some of the prompts require more in-depth writing and a bit more muscle, but there are a few interesting ones that I’ll be pulling my writing prompts from. The book doesn’t have page numbers or a table of contents, but that made it exciting to have, that I’d have so much freedom with these prompts that I can pick whatever format, voice, story, characters, etc. and just go with it. But that also made it intimidating – where do I even start?

For my first entry here, I picked “What a character wearing something red is thinking.”

Happy reading! I look forward to your feedback.

Shallow focus photography of red leafed tree
Photo by Daniel Kim on Unsplash

Red lipstick to match the red dress. Or is this too red? Or is my dress too red? Is this even a first-date dress?

I’m already running behind, and the rest of my wardrobe is either athleisure or jeans. Except for that section in the closet full of lingerie that I haven’t touched in two years… What about lingerie, jeans and a blazer? I’m pretty sure I saw an Instagram post with a woman wearing something like that. If I was going to go back into that section of the closet, today would be a good day for it.

The red dress goes. Lucky that I picked out the shoes last night, otherwise I’d be leaving a whole hour late.

My first date with Linda was at a karaoke bar, a desperate attempt to get the beautiful blond woman to give me the time of day. She always said I was the only person who vehemently said she was blonde, and everyone else said she had light brown hair. But her hair was what attracted me to her immediately, the way it was brown when she turned one way, but had a clear blond tinge when she looked at you.

And when she looked at you… it was all over. Her hair looked the way I always wanted mine to look, wavy, messy and full of volume, but not greasy. She wore combat boots a year or two ahead of everyone else because of her obsession with British Vogue and their fashion blog. She would often pair the combat boots with a leather jacket, fitted but loose, and yet she never looked like a biker.

So, when she said that she’d go out with me only if we went to a karaoke bar, I would have crawled there if I could find out more about her. She could have been straight and out to lead me on and break my heart, but I did not care.

That was the last first date I went on, and I would gladly relive the embarrassment of singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” twice, off key and sober, rather than go out for a drink with Kasey.

Kasey with a K. From her name alone, I knew we wouldn’t have that much in common, but I needed to rip the bandaid off, and Kasey is pretty enough. Linda said that she had been given the Spanish word for “beautiful” as a name, so she would remember that every time she didn’t feel like putting in any effort into her appearance.

Linda was “linda” in more than just her appearance. She had a very loud voice and a laugh that startled children, but she was so tender, soft and kind. I never deluded myself into thinking she never had an unkind word to say about anyone (she always had choice words for bad drivers), but she was always kind with those she loved.

We got married two years after the karaoke first date, and she died three years after. Uterine cancer. A woman who didn’t want kids gets the option taken away and dies for good measure. And she took half my life with her.

What must Kasey have to offer? Will she giggle at my terrible dad jokes? Will she eat the olive from my martinis? Will she cry at ASPCA commercials but laugh hysterically at videos of babies getting scared by loud noises?

With my hand on the front doorknob, I think how bad it’d look on me if I told Kasey now I couldn’t make it, provide some generic excuse. Maybe I’m stuck at work. But she knows I’m a freelance writer – how many emergencies would I have?

But I think of Linda as I open the door and take a step out. Red was her favorite color, so she’ll be with me all night, hopefully whispering her rendition of “Livin’ on a Prayer” in my ear.