The First Lie Is the One We Tell Ourselves – Friday Fictioneers

Hello, darlings. Did you miss me?

I had another story in my head when I woke up this morning, and I had hoped that the picture would draw more of that story out of me. Alas, the picture told another story, and the one in my head will have to find a home elsewhere.

If you have been living under a rock, or if you are new, this Friday Fictioneers thing, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, is an exercise wherein one looks at the photo prompt (this week’s provided by B.W. Beacham) and write a 100 word piece inspired by the photo. You don’t necessarily have to describe what’s going on in the photo, though that’s where some start.

Mine this week could almost be a poem. I don’t know, what is poetry? Is this a prose poem? Sure. You decide.

If you want to participate, click click on the little blue frog.




One harmless lie.

I thought I could just get my toes wet and walk away.

But to protect that lie, I indulged in subterfuges and hyperbole.

Distortions and falsehoods.

With practiced mendacity I engaged in prevarications most inventive.

Before I realized it, I was up to my neck in a world I had fabricated.

I thought I could just get my toes wet and walk away.

Instead, I was pulled under, swept away, and washed ashore.

Filthy and alone.

Wave after wave of regret crashing against my brokenness.

I thought I could just get my toes wet and walk away.


79 responses to “The First Lie Is the One We Tell Ourselves – Friday Fictioneers

  1. So intriguing.. the only time I decide not to write poetic prose it seems other’s are doing it.. yes of course it’s poetry. Especially the strong use of metaphors, and the repetitions.. then I always read it aloud..checking that the scansion works is what make it poetry in my mind.

  2. Oh, I love this. So vivid, so emotional. “I thought I could just get my toes wet and walk away…” Whatever you wish to call your piece, I call it achingly beautiful.

  3. I think the two of us should start a new genre, a poem prose – for those who don’t know what they’ve written. Yours is lovely, so many metaphors in here. Personally I would have like the tiniest of clues about the lie.

  4. I like poetic prose and use it myself. Yours reads smoothly and seamlessly whichever label you or other choose to put on it. I like the use of the same line (excuse?) in three different places and unlike Claire, I don’t think the specific lie matters. This is a condition universal to many lies.


    • I was picturing a person whose entire life has become a lie, so much so that they have to lie to cover other lies and have crafted an entire world of lies that eventually collapses upon itself. I’ve seen it happen, it’s not pretty.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but it felt like each line came in and washed out like the waves in the photo- very smooth and natural. Each line had its own impact but shades of it remained as the poem progressed. The repetition was very powerful, and the meaning was so relatable. Lying is a slippery slope. Beautiful!

  6. But of course, I’ve missed you, m’dear. Then again, I’ve been off doing much less interesting and enjoyable things than playing with my fellow Friday Fictioneers the past few weeks, so I’ve missed pretty much everyone. It’s good that we’re all back and playing so well together this week.

    I would say that this does cross the line into poetry, mostly because you manage to repeat phrases without seeming redundant or heavy handed. In strict prose, a flash fiction story can’t usually bear the weight of repeated phrases.

    But too much literary criticism is no fun at all, and your story was a pretty though tragic romp through one of those tangled webs one ought never weave.

    Marie Gail

  7. Really liked this. Just when the three or four syllabled words were beginning to take over my concentration you switched back to simple language. In a way, a bit like a wave breaking over the reader. So no, I don’t what it is either but I enjoyed it.

  8. Dear Helena,

    Of course I missed you, darling. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope your time away from us has been fruitful, if not restful.

    Perhaps you should start your own genre. .I love the repetition of the line “I thought I could just get my toes wet and walk away.” You’ve said much without overdoing it. Nicely nicely done.



  9. Helena, I’m not an expert but it sounds like a poem to me and Bjorn says it’s a poem, so I’ll take his word for it. It’s good. A fabric of lies can’t be made into a blanket to hide under unfortuantely. It would be a miserable way to live. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Well done as usual. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Dear Helena,

    I was struck by the way the weight of lies dragged her down. This was not only inventive and evocative, but so very true to life and a unique utilization of the prompt.

    Nothing has been the same since Rio.

    Nice to see you here.



  11. This was lovely … yes, it reads like poetry and is well-contained. It may be best to leave it as is because of its appeal is that it evokes so many stories within the reader. Well done, my dear H.

  12. Great use of the picture as a metaphor, Helena. It’s ironic that fiction can get people into so much trouble, when we write it all the time, but fiction turns bad when we try to live it in real life.

  13. Welcome back Helena! You were missed. This is very powerful and poignantโ€“ as I suspect there is much more behind it. Oh what a wicked web we weave… Sending you caring thoughts. xo

  14. Reminds me of my childhood at the seaside, when I’d go for a paddle and invariably end up soaked to the waist.

    It wasn’t until my adolescence that the other half of your metaphor came into play. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Very good – it’s so easy to start something and before you know it you’re in too deep.
    “With practiced mendacity I engaged in prevarications most inventive.” – what an amazing line!

  16. “up to my neck in a world I had fabricated.” << For me, that's the one. You can keep your "mendacity" and "prevarications", "Up to your neck in it" is as real as it comes!

    Great as always.

    #pleasereadmybook ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Love the repetition – it does make it poetic. If you’re a poet, you can claim it’s poetry. If not, not. To the deceit (more than one meaning intended) – that’s the problem with lying, isn’t it. Sooner or later you get pulled down – you have put it so succinctly.

  18. It’s nice to have you back, Helena. I’ve known people like this. After a while they began believing their own lies. I loved the form you used, very creative.

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