Wednesday, January 06, 2010

On Fiction and Telling Tall Tales

Here's the question: Is is ever okay to tell a lie? Is fiction lying? How about if it breaks from reality, imagines the supernatural, or even takes liberties with the Truth?

Here's my two cents:

My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles once told us kids a flat-out lie. They said there was a swamp monster living in the lake beside my grandparent's house. It was a big estate, 65 acres, and we spent a lot of time on our own, playing outside. We'd go there in the summertimes and swim in innertubes and fish in that lake, but only when a grown-up was with us. Never once did I venture into that lake by myself. They even went so far as to show me a picture of the swamp monster, so I could believe it, know it to be true, see it's face in my mind's eye if I ever thought about going down there alone. Which I did not.

When I got older and more mature, more able to take care of myself and make good decisions, I found out that swamp monster was a lie. I thank God for the people in my life who once stretched the truth and used their imaginations, sometimes giving me nightmares. Because they saved our lives. None of us grandchildren ever ventured into that lake alone. Not one of us drowned because some grown-ups in our lives loved us enough to get truly creative. They knew what could happen, and it was worse than a swamp monster.

The nightmares? Oh, they went away. But the love for my family who protected me and kept me from falling into that black lake? Now that will last forever.

Since writing this, my aunt says she doesn't remember this creature, but she does remember a certain TROLL that lived under the little bridge that crossed over to the island in the center of the lake. The same bridge we fished on. The same troll that apparently gave the three billy goats gruff a lot of trouble. My cousin doesn't remember a thing, but I specifically remember the above creature in my nightmares. My daughter saw him on my screen and said, "That's scary" and I said, "I know. But it's not real." I guess I'm a little wary of giving her the same dreams...

(image of Creature of the Black Lagoon from

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Scary story Nicole! By the way, I drove by your grandparents property a few weeks ago. A lovely elemenatry school has been built there. But the lake is still there. I wonder if any teachers would be interested in your story!