Why it’s Good to Be A Poser

Posted: August 11, 2011 in fiction, humor, Life, storytelling, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In the summer of 1981 while on our annual family vacation, my sister, for no apparent reason, began to speak in French.

It happened on a streetcar in San Francisco and only my parents and I heard it. When it became clear that she was speaking to me, I answered her in kind. She had two years of high school French to my one which really didn’t matter because what followed was a nonsensical exchange of whatever French phrases we could come up with. It was funny, harmless. That is, until THEY got on the streetcar.

They were on vacation, too, a family of three. They also spoke French. The “Hi, my name is Pierre and I’m from France” kind of French. Being unaware of this, we continued our babbling until an unfamiliar voice asked, “Parlez-vous francais?”

We should have owned up then. Should have but didn’t. “Oui,” we answered.

Suddenly they were chirping at us like caffeine-fueled hummingbirds, too fast for us to catch more than an occasional random word. We looked to our parents for help, and got nothing but benign smiles that said, “Look at those poor idiot children. Where could their parents be?”

When my sister finally managed to convey to this family that we weren’t actually French, they didn’t seem surprised by nor angry at our deception. They just smiled a lot. The moral of this story, boys and girls, is obvious: don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Unless you’re a writer.

In a recent post, blogger Jeff Goins (whom I read frequently at http://goinswriter.com/), said “Writers write. Posers talk about writing.” While I agree with the deeper meaning of his statement, that to be a writer, you should actually WRITE, on face value, I have to argue that some posers ARE writers.

Writing fiction gives you an opportunity to be anybody you choose. In the two years I’ve been actively writing fiction, I’ve been a young widow turned international assassin, a 60-something woman battling cancer, a man on death row making amends, a kindergartener planning her wedding, a corporate drone who loses her job and finds herself. I’ve “posed” as many things I’m not and make no apology for it. Because that’s what storytellers do. Who do YOU want to be today, poser? I say pick one or two or a crowd of characters and laissez le bon temps rouler!

RESOURCE ALERT: How does truth serum work? Can you determine the time of death from a corpse’s body temperature? What happens when you expose a person to the vacuum of space? “Forensics and Fiction” by D.P. Lyle can answer all those questions and more. It’s just one of a number of great resource books he’s written, must-haves if you’re writing a whodunit or thriller. Writes great novels, too. Check him out at http://www.dplylemd.com/DPLyleMD/Home.html

  1. Need an escape from the world? Read a book. Want to rule the world? Write one. Because the only place most of us get any big-time power is in a world we create ourselves. What will I be today, and what mayhem will I unleash? Mwa-ha-ha-ha! I know, I could use my powers to enlighten and build up mankind…but it is more of a mayhem kind of day, n’est-ce pas? Love your work!

  2. My only desire is to tell a story. Need to exorcise them from dark crevices in my person. Shoo them from flapping around in my head.

    I may choose to talk about it later in a fetching outfit and in a flattering color. Cornflower blue I think. I embrace poses and words equally. Two different children that I love and point out to you in a photograph with a proud smile.

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