I have a problem dealing with dishonesty.
I will admit that maybe, I am too honest. As far as this blog and my facebook and all that goes, only my name is fake…everything else is real. And while I will never post full photos of my kids, or give out my street address or phone number or real name, the little stories from my life are all true.
My words and opinions and experiences are honest.
But lately, I have been noticing some dishonesty among other bloggers/authors/facebookers, and it bothers me. It probably shouldn’t be surprising, and maybe it shouldn’t bother me, but it is and it does. I guess I expect people to be as truthful as I am, and I suppose that’s just unrealistic. Of course, writers are prone to inventing words, and worlds, and characters. It makes sense for them to invent elements of their own virtual-personas as well. Maybe it’s more surprising that I don’t do it.
These little falsehoods are not ever about anything important. It’s just nonsense that people lie about, and I guess even calling them “lies” implies a bit more gravity than these transgressions deserve. But somehow, for me, that makes it worse. I mean, if you were caught in a compromising situation, I’d expect you to lie a little. If you need to get out of doing something uncomfortable, sure, stretch the truth- it’s wrong, but we’ve all done it. But these things I’m noticing? Nonsense.
I just wonder: why? Why lie? When no one would care either way? Why make up fake facts, or tell fake little anecdotes? It’s odd and unnecessary. Recently, an incident of this type involving JK Rowling and a false bio has been buzzing around. Even if that was all for publicity, it was still strange and needlessly dishonest. But, it didn’t bother me, really, because I don’t interact with JK Rowling.
It does bother me when I discover it happening among the people I (sort-of) trust online. It makes me think: all your comments are worthless now, all your “likes” are suspect, and all your future posts are not to be trusted. Because if someone would lie about something stupid, for no reason, what might they say when it actually matters?
I realize that not many people read this blog, but just in case a dishonest person does read it, I will give this warning: Do not underestimate your audience! I am a person with a pretty sharp eye and a fairly good memory. I remember comments from weeks ago, or blog posts from last month, or the bio blurb from books I read last year. So when you contradict yourself, I notice. And I’m not that special, so if I noticed, chances are someone else noticed, too. It all just makes you look bad, so stop.
Rant over. And now I will look in the mirror a little…
How honest am I?
I don’t tell anyone that I have this fake name, and a whole other life online. I don’t tell them that I write stories and publish them. Isn’t that a lie of omission? How trustworthy will my friends and family find me if they ever discover this double life? Am I really planning on keeping it a secret forever? Can I even do that, realistically?
I do wish more people read this blog. I would love to know what other people do about this, in their own lives. Am I the only secret-writer? Are other romance writers honest with their co-workers, friends, and relatives about their writing and their pen-names? Is it wrong to keep this secret?
As always, I am without answers, but still trying to do my best.