Lying and Writing?
Isaac Bashevis Singer said, “When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am a grown-up they call me a writer.”
I hear about this often: Children who were called “liars” in their younger years have grown up to be writers. I often dwell on whether or not this is something I can wrap my head around. Does lying make you a good writer? Humor me while I take a minute to unpack some data.
First, we all know that imagination is critical when it comes to child development. It’s how creativity and divergent thinking originates. It’s the door to all possibilities, especially when it comes to writing and/or expressing yourself in any art form. Imagination and creative play are how one grows to learn about the world. While a child is playing, they are controlling and influencing toys: play-doh, crayons, etc. They are expressing themselves verbally – sometimes changing the tone of their voice, and non-verbally by using their hands or body to play. And whether intended or not, children plan while playing. They create pictures and scenarios in their heads; they also form connections with their toys and/or friends and alter their playing by trying out different toys and different roles, all of which helps the creative expansion of a child.
Okay, so we know children are creative, some more than others, but I believe creativity and imagination can go hand in hand with lying. Moving on.
After doing some research, I found there are around five known liars.
1) The narcissistic liar, driven by ego and demands attention. Yet the lies that he/she/they create will deny blame and responsibility for their actions. The narcissist will guard their ego at all costs.
2) The sociopathic liar, known to be the most destructive types of liars because they lie on a regular basis without thought or care, and often without reason, similar to a pathologic liar.
3) The pathetic liar wants to be liked and creates deception in order to prevent conflict of fitting in. These types of liars will go along with the group, rarely offering their own opinions; they just agree with the general population, and seem to change their minds often.
4) The white liar hides the truth or tells half-truths. These lies are harmless and insignificant. They are usually told to protect someone’s feelings, like telling someone they think their dress is pretty when really, they don’t believe it is.
5) The careless liar lies all the time and doesn’t particularly care about hiding their lies or even if they make any sense. They usually don’t have a lot of friends because people get tired of trying to keep track of their twisted stories. Even when a careless liar is confronted, most of the time, they don’t admit their lies or change their behavior.
So what exactly do lying and writing have in common?
The main thing I can think of is, liars and fiction writers both use words to try and get you to believe something that isn’t true. In both writing and lying the most important factor in getting others to believe your story is through detail and credibility. The more detail you pack into a lie or story such as scene, setting, color, characters, word phrases, and imagery that helps others see what you’re describing, the more believable your story becomes.
So, all in all, yes, it makes sense that if your kid is a good liar, they may indeed grow up to be a writer.
What do you think?