I cannot begin at the beginning; I wasn’t there. I cannot even begin at one particular moment in time; I do not remember how this got started. Neither does anybody else. We only know the story we are given, unless someone writes the truth of it down. And even then, it isn’t the whole truth. Only theirs. As this is mine.
I can only tell you what was told to me, and most of that was probably lies. The person who told me who I was and showed me my place in the world very seldom told the truth. I still believe that telling the story from the beginning is the only way to do it.
Whether it is true or not, it is the only story I have.
My name is Flora. This book is my life.
–The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison
“Can I go to bed?” I asked. Mom nodded. Dad didn’t say a word. After I exhaled the biggest breath in my life, I slid out of my chair and padded down the hall. Like a robot, I brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas, and made for my bedroom. “No stories tonight,” I called down the hall to Mom. “I’m tired.” I didn’t know what they thought. I felt bad for them. I loved my parents to pieces, but all the questions they’d failed to answer had begun to add up. They should’ve known better.
They’d done everything possible to make me into a thinker, a hard worker, a doubter of universal truths. And finally it had turned against them.
–Darkness Between the Stars (Eaters of the Light Book 1) by J Edward Neill
Casimir had been a typical vampire—the quintessential vampire, in fact. And look what had happened to him! Whereas I . . . well, I was different. I was active and empathic and dependable and involved. I wasn’t anything like Casimir. It’s funny what lies you tell yourself when you’re scared to death.
“An injurious truth has no merit over an injurious lie. Neither should ever be uttered. The man who speaks an injurious truth lest his soul be not saved if he do otherwise, should reflect that that sort of a soul is not strictly worth saving. The man who tells a lie to help a poor devil out of trouble, is one of whom the angels doubtless say, “Lo, here is an heroic soul who casts his own welfare in jeopardy to succor his neighbor’s; let us exalt this magnanimous liar.””
“Lying is universal–we all do it. Therefore, the wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others’ advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily…as being ashamed of our high calling. Then shall we be rid of the rank and pestilent truth that is rotting the land; then shall we be great and good and beautiful, and worthy dwellers in a world where even benign Nature habitually lies, except when she promises execrable weather.“
I suspect that it goes without saying, but I shall say it anyway: Mark Twain is one of those rare authors who can actually get away with saying something like this. And, in true Twain fashion, if you read the entire work, you will find the quote means much more when read in context.
I wish I could write half as well.
“No fact is more firmly established than that lyingis a necessity of our circumstances–the deduction that it is then a Virtue goes without saying.“