Friday, June 18, 2010

truth to tell

In one of his novels, author Earl Thompson ("Tattoo," "A Garden of Sand," etc.) puts words in what I took to be his quasi-autobiographical central character's mouth. The character, a writer, says that all he ever wanted to do was to write something true. Judging by his novels as I remember them, Thompson did a pretty good job of writing something true.

And yet the wishful words linger in the mind ... to write something true. On the one hand, all words are liars from the get-go -- approximations or indicators of some vastly luscious whole. Often, when reading, you can sense the author's darting eyes, full of creative and contriving effort, scanning the heavens for just the right lie. Yes, it may be good, but still you feel what is missing ... the truth being coaxed from the lies.

On the other hand there are moments among the words and among the lies, that all artifice seems to fall away and there is a sudden unveiling ... this, fershur, is the truth and you know it. It is naked and you are naked with it.

Maybe spiritual endeavor is like that, rolling around in the coziness of the lies in a heart-felt effort to winkle out some truth, only to find, in a rare moment, that this, by God, is the truth ... the truth you had swooned for and begged for and were afraid of and coaxed until -- surprise, surprise -- it appeared without effort or contrivance ... sticking it's nose out from behind some closet door like a mischievous kid saying a delighted, "Boo!"

There's no more fakin' it when the truth comes calling -- the 'fershur' kind. No more prattling about truthful novels or spiritual whirligigs ... it's just "boo!" And just about the time you recognize it and are stripped delightfully bare and plead "pleasepleaseplease don't go!" it trots back into the fabricated bushes, delicate and powerful and shy as a unicorn.


  1. The trick is not to plead, but to say 'boo!' back.

    A great post, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thankyou Adam, thats's beautiful