The deception of every day life

As writers, we spend a lot of time working on fictional deception. That guy, the one who looks like such a good guy? Yeah, he’s a ratfink. Or maybe that woman seems like a mean old hag, but underneath she’s got a heart of gold.

That item, lying there on the floor? It didn’t just fall over. It was dropped and that’s an important clue.

The torn love letter you are convinced is the key to the mystery? No, it’s just a tale of woe.

But as hard as creating fictional deception can be, I think it’s a lot easier than real life.

  • That trip you thought was going to take ten minutes? Try an hour.
  • Thought it was going to take you an hour to pick up your kids after school? Try two and a half.
  • That road they said was going to be closed for two weeks? It’s been months and counting.
  • The bridge repairs from that fire? Yeah, zero timetable on that one (or maybe that’s not deception).
  • That dress that look absolutely gorgeous in the dressing room? Get it home and WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
  • The shade of lipstick that seemed to work perfectly when you tested it in the store? Nuh-uh.

I could go on. But lately I’ve been thinking life is more about navigating the deception that is rampant in the world than anything else. No wonder we’re all exhausted. As soon as we think we know what’s going on, Life and the Universe pull the rug out and give a big ol’ laugh as we land on our, um, patooties.

And maybe that’s what makes fictional deception so much easier to create. After all, when it gets too crazy, we can always write a soothing peaceful scene where everything goes right. Just to calm our nerves.

Even if that scene winds up on the cutting room floor.

Fellow Mysteristas, what’s your latest example of real-life deception?

Liz Milliron | @mary_sutton73

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Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She's worked for fifteen years in the corporate world, but finds making things up is far more satisfying than writing software manuals. A lifelong mystery fan, her short fiction has been published in online magazines Uppagus and Mysterical-e. She has also had stories included in Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales, Blood on the Bayou (the 2016 Bouchercon anthology), Fish Out of Water, and Mystery Most Historical. She is a past president of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Visit her online at http://lizmilliron.com, find her on Facebook at https://facebook.com/LizMilliron, or follow her on Twitter (@LizMilliron).

10 thoughts on “The deception of every day life”

  1. So true, Liz. I’m reminded of the quote, “Just when I knew where it was, they moved it.” Maybe life is really a cosmic joke. If so, might be best if we learned to relax and laugh with it. Fictional is WAY far easier to take (and create). Good post.

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  2. Oh my gosh, where to start? I’m particularly annoyed with opposing counsel in two separate cases who keep saying “We’re going to settle this. Don’t do any more work.” And then there’s no settlement offer and I’m driven up against a deadline. I pounded out four hearing briefs in as many days because these two guys jammed me up so I had to do the briefs in those cases, having delayed until the last minute, on top of the ones I had scheduled. My hands ache from typing. I’m one cranky little lawyer this morning on her way to court.

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  3. Real life deception perpetrated by the likes of Dr. Spock and television: children take naps. In reality, they sleep less than me. Or at least that’s what it feels like.

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  4. Well, I’ll be the first to say it … election season! Ugh. I want to choose the “right” side of the issue, but I’ve been lied to so much I don’t trust my decisions anymore. Who will fact check the fact checkers??

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  5. Great post, Mary! Probably food cravings while being pregnant–I’ll be at the store and think “I’m not in the mood for ice cream…” then two hours later, all I can think about is ice cream! 🙂 I suppose that’s my stomach being deceptive, lol.

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  6. Kait, I think you’re right. Except you’d think that now we’re in on the joke we could relax, right? Nope.

    Keenan, that sounds horrible! Too bad you can’t lock them in a room and say, “I’m not letting you out until you settle this thing.”

    Gay, thanks!

    Sam, naps! My two never napped. Ever. That mythical “you sleep when the baby sleeps”? Yeah, what if my kid doesn’t sleep?

    Becky, I know, right? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out and you know the “right” person, along comes some stupid fact checker who says otherwise. We might as well be throwing darts at a chart when it comes to “truth in campaigning.” One reason I’ve tried to ignore most of it.

    Sue, I could say the same thing about teenagers. One night my girl is an emotional mess and wakes me up to be held. The next day “I’m fine, Mom. Geez. Leave me alone.”

    Kate, you just described my life, pregnant or not. I’ll be in the grocery store and The Hubby will ask, “Do you want/need X?” I say no. Hours later? Yep, X is what I want/need!

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  7. People are strange creatures, aren’t we? Did they know the road would be closed for longer than two weeks? My guess is they didn’t. Or maybe someone wasn’t in the mood for angry phone calls and decided that with any luck people would get used to the inconvenience and forget how long it’s actually been.

    Not exactly deception, but my plan was to be at the hospital Friday while Dad had surgery. My plan did not include spending the night in his room, trying to find something to keep my phone charged, and generally missing some of my own hygiene and healthcare needs. Sheesh. What’s that old saying? “When we make a plan, God laughs.”

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