Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life, Embellished

Life, Embellished
by Susan Wells Bennett

When my father finished reading my first novel, The Thief of Todays and Tomorrows, he cried. I know some of those tears were for the main character; however, most of them reflected a mixture of emotions having to do with the kind of daughter I was and am. Not long after, he told me he had always known I was a writer because I was such a creative liar as a child.

It’s true: I was a liar. Not a “dog-ate-my-homework” liar or someone who says “no” when they mean yes, but a true embellisher. You see, life was never quite as exciting as I expected it to be. The humdrumness of day-to-day life made me long for excitement and intrigue. So I created it whenever and wherever I could.

I once told three schoolmates that Sweden was preparing to invade the United States. Only one of them knew I was pretending (that’s the polite word for “lying,” of course). I claimed to be privy to secret information due to my family’s long-standing connection with the Swedish Royals – my great-great-grandfather worked as the stable boy to the King of Sweden (this is the kernel of truth upon which my story was based). Even at the time I remember thinking that if these two gullible girls would just look at a map, they would immediately realize my story couldn’t possibly be true. Why would Sweden bother with the U.S. when Norway is right next door?

Another time, I spotted an art gallery next to where my parents were shopping and asked for permission to go inside. My parents, who are not particularly interested in fine art, told me to go ahead. I was only nine or ten, so they probably also told me not to touch. They would have been better served by telling me not to talk. Anyway, inside the gallery, a saleswoman approached me as I was looking at some lovely landscapes. She told me the artist was from Idaho – and I immediately launched into a story about how my uncle was an artist who lived in Idaho. (Kernel of truth: I have one ne’er-do-well uncle who did, in fact, live in Idaho – he was more of an asshole than an artist, though.) I kept the story spinning pretty well until my father came to retrieve me and the whole web came crashing down on me.

I know my parents were embarrassed by my lying. They thought I didn’t appreciate the life they provided for me – that I somehow believed my life should have been better. On the contrary, it was the life they provided for me – one full of books and lots of museum trips – that stimulated my imagination. As an only child, I learned to entertain myself early on with adventures spun from the smallest details of the world around me. Without realizing it, my parents created a storyteller.

So, the next time you catch your son or daughter in a lie, take the time to evaluate the creativity
behind it. Was it just a falsehood to protect themselves from punishment? Or was it an embellishment – a story told for its own sake? If it was an embellishment, try not to be too hard on the kid – someday people might love to read his or her lies!

Biography: A third-generation Arizonan, Susan Wells Bennett was born in 1971. Having spent many years working as an editor and writer in corporate settings, she began writing novels in 2009. She lives in Youngtown, Arizona, with her husband and their two dogs.

Links to my books:
Barnes & Noble:

Twitter handle: @SWellsBennett
Facebook page:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

By: Shad Bolt Smith of the Delaware Nation

Wish I could tell you
what's happening in my head
wish you could hold me
and chase away the dread

Dreading tomorrow
and what it may bring
maybe more sorrow
maybe nothing

When tomorrow is your yesterday
and today is your forever
you begin to think and say
is it now or never