JSW Prompt – “I didn’t say that…”

“I didn’t say it. My character did. Huge difference…,” I told her with a slight trying-for-patience look, like I didn’t understand why she didn’t get me.

She frowned and I knew she was trying. It’s a difficult thing for somebody who doesn’t have characters living in their head to understand. Like another friend told me, ‘a totally alien concept.’

“So you don’t take responsibility for what you say?” she asked, anger creeping into her voice . “I mean…. really!”

“Lilly,” I pleaded. “It’s a story. Characters. Fiction.”

“But it’s your story. Your words, so if you are saying them you must believe them.”

Beside me, Chris sighed. ‘She’s never gonna get it,’ he told me sagely, lock of beach blonde hair falling across his forehead. He was a lady-killer and knew it.

“Shut up!”

“What!”

“No,” I added hastily. “Not you, Lilly. Him.”

Her look darkened. “Him? Him who? It’s just you and me.”

‘See,’ he continued, cocking his head, eyes sparkling with humor. ‘Never going to get you. It’s that reality/unreality paradigm. I’m part of you. She isn’t.’ He shrugged as if that explained all.

Ignoring him – having had years of practice since he first came into my life – I focused on Lilly. I knew she was frustrated, but I’d explained the concept of writers having characters living in their heads to her a million times. Okay, not a million. Maybe ten. Five, at the least. Still, she failed to understand.

Maybe this friendship wasn’t going to work out after all…..

‘Fear not,’ Chris assured me, slinging an arm around my shoulder. ‘At least you’ll always have me.’

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How Would My Relationships Change if I Resolved Never to Lie Again?

I vowed years ago to live as transparent, read lie-free, a life as possible. Truthfully, one of my characters decided to live this transparent life and dragged me along for the ride. It hasn’t been easy. We both find times when we butt up against those tiny white lies. You know the ones, when it would just be so much easier, and quicker, to lie than to tell the truth. Maybe you just want to avoid hurting their feelings or misunderstanding, or you just plain don’t want to get into ‘that discussion’ again.

Being lie-free is easier with things that don’t matter, much harder with those things inside, those corners of darkness which tell me I am a fraud or a failure. I know intellectually that if people saw those places they wouldn’t shy away, hands before their faces as if warding off a vampire. That, however, hasn’t convinced the darkness to step into the light.

But what a world it would be if we all vowed never to lie again, to only deal in the total and honest truth with those we love and even those who just brush by the edges of our lives. Notice I did not say brutal truth. When used as a weapon, the truth can be just as painful as a lie. It can cut like knives, slash at our self-worth with ragged fingers, but only if we accept that truth as our own. The reality is, you can accept or deny truth as you wish. So when does that acceptance or not become a lie?

I used to beg my ex, “I don’t care if the truth pisses the hell out of me and I’m mad because I will always calm down. But if you lie to me, I’ll never trust you again.” Which is why, I might add, he is my ex. He never understood that the truth was the only place where we could honestly form a lasting relationship. He lived in a Disney-like world where, if he kept me happy now, everything would be all right. So, the actual truth is, nobody will ever have a true relationship with me if they lie. There are times when I think I’ll never trust again. That I will always question ‘is this a lie or the truth’?

I know one thing. I will never stand to be lied to again. Maybe if somebody said ‘you look great,’ when I feel like shit. Okay, I get that and understand what they mean. Is it a lie? Well… maybe to them I do look great. Maybe it’s just in my eyes that I look like shit. Here’s where the trust comes into play. If I trust the speaker, I can accept the words as truth. If I don’t…..

I try to own up to my mistakes. It’s hard and I feel as if I fail as often as I succeed. At work, I might feel attacked and fire back with the first thing that comes to mind, often the very wrong thing to say. But I count myself lucky if I can step back, realized what I’ve done and make amends. Sometimes, often times, this realization is a war waged inside myself. It would be so much easily to just let things drop, move on, but easy and right aren’t always the same things, just like a lie and a truth aren’t the same.

To be honest, I am still learning the difference, still struggling to open myself up like one of those transparent fish so that the light of truth can shine through. My character (darn him) is way ahead of me in this but I’m still trying and that has to be good enough for now. Hey, at least, I have a good example to follow.

What would happen to your relationships if you never lied again?

Am I ready to be just another ordinary Hero?

“It’s comforting to believe in heroes. They save kids from the Nazis, dive into icy rivers to save the injured and provide computers to low-income-household kids. In short, they do stuff we normal folk would not think to do or would be too afraid to do or just can’t do (right now.) But what if….we stopped thinking of heroism as a special, rare, quality belonging only to a select few? What if heroic acts were ‘something that anyone can perform, given the right mind-set and conditions?'”

So what is a hero? As defined by the dictionary, a hero is:

1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. In classical myth, a being of extraordinary strength and courage, often the offspring of a mortal and a god, who is celebrated for his exploits

Heroes are an important part of human history. Archelles. Hercules. Jason. King Arthur and Lancelot. And what about George Washington or Lewis and Clark? Neil Armstrong? Who do you think about when you think about heroes?

I’d bet not the grumpy old man next door always complaining about your dog using his lawn for the toilet. Or the teenage girl who spends all her time squealing on your phone and rolling her eyes. The kitten abandoned on the street. But what if….?

Isn’t in within us all to be heroes, just a matter of being willing to act, usually without thought, when another’s life is in peril or when an unknown land needs exploring and protecting? Unfortunately, we don’t have many last frontiers left and even fewer dragons to slay; the Golden Fleece is long gone as is Camelot and it’s King. But aren’t there still lands that need heroes? Would you consider feeding a starving child being a hero? Standing solid for women who are sold into marriage and beaten when they don’t obey the men who rule them?

So how do we change our thoughts about heroes to conform to the world today? How about the leader of a powerful country, or a local politician, who stands for his people and not for his own power and profit. The bystander who steps in to save a woman from getting beaten or worse; the teacher who reports suspicious bruises on a child. A heroic act can be huge or small, saving a life or simply seeing when somebody is in dire need of a friend and holding out your hand.

Shouldn’t we consider then that this world is inhabited by 7 billion potential heroes, if only given the power and the courage to act. Each of us can be a hero to somebody. Why don’t you spend today looking for your chance to be that hero?

JSW Prompt – She had only seen dead bodies in photographs……

She had only seen dead bodies in photographs where they looked, well, asleep, she thought.  Calm, peaceful faces, reposed, eyes closed, lips almost curved into a slight smile. Not this mangled, tangle, of what used to be flesh.  Raw red and bone white.  Emptiness where a hand once lived.  And red.  Overwhelming red.  How could one body hold so much red?  Tattered flesh and tattered cloth. Booted foot beside her in the eerie silence after. Sand and smoke hanging in the air like fog.  The bitter taste of bile.  And the stench, fresh souls gone leaving shells behind.

And then she shifted her grip on her gun and moved on, around the next corner.

 

Did anybody else come up with anything?  Please post if you did as I’d love to read what other’s wrote.