Mark Twain and I were chatting the other day when he said to me, “When in doubt, tell the truth,” as if I hadn’t heard THAT before.
What was he even talking about? Of course, I tell the truth, that’s the whole point of my memoir. But you can’t just tell the truth as if it is a finite thing, Mark. Nope, I’ve learned over the years, and it’s been a difficult surprise, that my truth is not necessarily your truth.
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything,” he explained.
Mark Twain seemed a little exasperated as he stared back, not even batting an eye. He sat still as a stone, a cold chill flying off his shoulder directly at me.
But you might consider, he continued, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Thanks for that, Mark, but I can’t stop myself, I told him.
He seemed a little testy now.
Best I can do is be as honest as possible and hope others see that’s what I’m aiming for. I want to make a point, you know. About how we try to love each other and about how it doesn’t always work out that well.
Mark softened and I thought I saw him smile. His parting words, which I chose to interpret as supportive, were all I needed to head back to my desk and hit the keyboard again, back on my way after our brief interlude.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
Thanks, Mark. Looks like I’m ready then.