In our house, when someone says something that’s clearly not true, we call them a “big fat liar pants.” Now, this is not to make light of telling lies; lying (and omitting the truth) receives harsh punishment, just ask the Girl, who’s currently grounded from all electronics. But, sometimes, there are things said even though there’s no possible way it could be the truth, and the speaker doesn’t even expect the listener to believe him or her. For example, “I don’t know why you tripped over my shoes since I put them in my closet where they belong,” said the big fat liar pants.
Last weekend, we watched two movies, one of which has really stuck with me this week. I don’t want to talk about We Need to Talk About Kevin. I try not to think too much about that one. The one that I can’t seem to stop thinking about is The Words. Bryan said his mom watched it and “knew I’d like it.” I did like it. But it made me teary. When Bryan asked why, I couldn’t put it into words. Because I’m a big fat liar pants.
The Words is about a writer who, in the midst of the tidal wave of rejection from potential publishers of his first novel, finds an old manuscript in an attaché his wife purchased for him at an antique store. When he reads this manuscript (these words of another), he’s overcome with emotion … the story so genuine, the descriptions so detailed, the feelings so raw … he’s moved, he’s awed … and he’s jealous. He has no idea who wrote these words or how they ended up hidden away from the world; all he knows is that he wishes he’d written them.
At this point in the movie, the writer tells his wife, “I’m not who I thought I was, okay? I’m not. And I’m terrified that I never will be.” (The Words, 2012). I get this. His wife gets upset, taking his comments to mean he’s not happy with her. Of course, he loves her, but, just as we learn about that manuscript’s original writer, he “loved the words more than the woman [he] was writing them for.” (The Words, 2012).
Now the blurb for the movie will tell you what happens next: the writer passes the words off as his own, receiving both critical and commercial success. And then he meets the original writer, the old man. The old man tells him where the words came from and all he wants in return is for the writer to bear the pain that bore the words. The old man is tired, he has nothing left, he just wants the pain to go away.
I do love words, but I don’t love them more than my family. And there’ve been many times when I’ve read things I wished I’d written. Typically, I consider that a sign that I like something. But I’d never try to pass anything off as my own though. I may be a big fat liar pants but I’m not dishonest. I’m a big fat liar pants because I’m not who I thought I was. Writers put words on paper; they share things with the world (however big or small that world may be to them). If I had to put a number on it, I’d say about 95% of my “writing” occurs in my head. Only about 5% of my words make it to paper. I spend too much time in my own head (but, hey, I know everyone there and it’s cozy). I’ve got at least three “writing” projects in the works; the majority of which are in my head. How can I call myself a writer if I never finish anything longer than a blog post (and this one’s been in my head for four days now!)?
I’m not a writer. I’m a thinker. Nothing more than a daydreamer. Don’t get me wrong, daydreaming is fun, but I’m not who I thought I was. “At some point, you have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close, but they never actually touch.” (The Words, 2012). I’m a big fat liar pants.