Friday, April 16, 2010

The Pledge

I was already wearing khaki pants when I pulled on the gray polo with my alma mater's name embroidered on it.  I grabbed the navy blue polar fleece pull-over just in case the temperature dropped.  As I was walking out the door, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and couldn't help but laugh.  For years I complained about wearing a uniform to school every day and now here I am, years later, putting it on by choice.  At least it wasn't Friday.  It must be the private school advantage: we know how to dress ourselves in red, white, and blue.

Just for kicks and giggles, I contemplated writing the Honor Code on the top of my test.  "I pledge I will not lie, cheat, or steal.  Nor will I tolerate those who do."  For nine long years "I pledge..." was written at the top of every test I took accompanied by my signature that sometimes included all of the letters to my name.

Now, here I am, years removed from the pledge, the uniform, and the salmon colored bricks, yet they are forcing their way back into my life one collared polo at a time.  Some habits die hard, I guess.  However, it dawned on me today that it's all a lie.  I cheat.  I steal.  I tolerate it from myself and from others.

I am a writer.

I stretch the truth or make it up completely, I steal material from every day conversations, and I tolerate this only because I am a writer; this is what I'm paid to do.  Lying, cheating, and stealing are encouraged.

Eves drop.  Put something in your purse that doesn't exactly belong there (as long as it's only words, Grandma!). Let the tales of others appear in your work.  Don't feel bad about it.  After all, "The Code's more like guidelines than actual rules."

Ok, maybe that's a bit of hyperbole.  That doesn't mean real life is off-limits.  For example, a green laser was repeatedly shot across campus and directly into my eyes apartment this evening.  It gave me a nice headache.  When I write about this, the owner of the green laser pointer will be strangled and his laser buried at the bottom of the lake.  Just sayin'.

Lie, cheat, and steal material in the name of fiction.  Ok, I promise I won't do it while wearing the plaid skirt that makes me look like a Catholic school girl.

<>< Katie

1 comment:

StorytellERdoc said...

LOL...what a great post. And funny perspective. I will pray for your lying, cheating, and stealing soul tonight! :)