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143 LYING IN THE LYRIC I know I can make this all poetic and shit, can find some metaphor to wrap this essay up in, like I’m giving you some present with pretty pauses and illuminating illusions. Or, hell, I can wallow in the sorrow of the story that I’m not quite sure I want to tell you yet with some soft, long sounds, avoiding words with k, with that hard c, sidestepping the cackle of the stark ch. Instead, I can soak in the l’s and s’s, wind around some w’s and give the gust of an r or two to reveal the purpose of certain ideas and sentences with more effective emphasis. Right? There. Some one-word paragraphs. Beautiful. And here’s ______. An incomplete sentence. I know the poetic pretense here can proficiently populate the reader’s inner parenthesis with some self-deflecting linguistic tricks, can expose myself not through sentiments, but swaying, as in persuading sentences, traversing into the categorical territory of “vulnerable” as I raw myself out with 144 | Chelsey Clammer words such as emotive, mawkish, expostulate, lugubrious— the ones that are big hits on the GRE vocabulary test. Then I can throw in some decorative characters or punctuation or symbols of some sort or whatever to give this essay a segmented look. Now, in this post-uber-lyricized moment, I find that to be a futile task. Because there’s no lyric or lovely, no poetic way to say I’ve been lying to you lately. According to its popular-opinioned definition, there shouldn’t be any prescribable form to the lyric essay. That would defeat the purpose of a lyric essay’s elemental and unconventional innovation. Though I could tell you about the characteristics I have come across—which may at some point include the term vulnerable, or more likely brave, and how I have started to despise the exaltation of that latter concept in regards to writing nonfiction. One could say that in order to gain readership, one could take a traumatic (read: vulnerable) experience and transform it into a type of art, could dress it up with lyric language and bring poetry to the pain in order to honor it. Lying in the Lyric | 145 But that’s not being vulnerable. That’s called being deflective and pretty. Here, I will begin to address you, because you could be the person I’m lying to, and while you most likely are not that person—I am, after all, admitting to a lie and therefore am hoping you don’t read this—if you do read this then I’ll hope that you, like all you readers, assume I am not addressing you, but the general “you” as a literary device to bring you (the reader) more into this confessional essay. It makes you a part of this. Part of pain art is sharing. You’ll be more receptive to my lying if I can find a lyrical way to admit all of this. My command of language can bring you into a more conceptual space—how I can distract you with beauty, because what I have to tell you is ugly. So far, I think this is working. We are now a third of the way into this essay and all I’ve really done is make a vague (yet so vulnerable!) admittance that I have been lying to you lately. The subject of said lie is still silent, because I’m still clearing my throat. And now I’ll add in a beautiful quote in order to give you an image not of me doing that thing I’m lying about, but to ricochet away from, to delay my confession. “I live between mountains and take my smallness, like a pill, upon waking.”—Catherine Pierce The lie is not that I haven’t been taking my medication. 146 | Chelsey Clammer The lie is not that I wake up angry each day because I’m still alive. The lie has nothing to do with my body. One of these is a lie. It’s time to lay this all out for you, because if I take this any further, the suspense in this essay is going to fizzle. If it hasn’t already started to. Elements of a lyric essay: Metaphor. Research. Bullet points. Pace. Poeticism. Odd concepts. Fragments. Surprising verb and/or noun-turned-verb (i.e., a noun verbed). (You can totally Chelsey a...


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