I am a writer. I am a liar. I am a thief. I am what is needed of me.

For the longest time I have enjoyed putting pen to paper. There’s a certain rush that wraps around the senses and threatens to never release once I begin to write. It’s a natural high found in an artificial construct. Literature is a human concept, one which I am proud to propagate.  I have been since I can remember. At the border of my memory, there is a moment which is pivotal for my development as a writer: my first work. I was in kindergarten; I couldn’t tell you any elements of style, my voice was as naive as my vocabulary- yet I wrote my first book. My teacher was enthralled, she had it laminated and displayed for the entire faculty. I was happy, yet unsatisfied. It was at the moment where I decided to pursue a sequel just to relieve myself from that nagging impetus that I knew this is what I was meant to do.

When I was in second grade, I wrote an autobiography. I remember it was exactly twenty-two pages long, carefully transcribed on large, lined paper. The letters were awkward (and I’m sure the spelling was too) but it told of everything in my life up to that point. Like when I was about eight and my older brother accidentally knocked one of my teeth out. Or when I managed to not blink for thirty whole seconds. The important things.

I was thirteen when I decided to write fiction. By fourteen my first short story was published in an E-zine. But please, do yourself a favor and do not look up my name coupled with the term “Blind Faith.” I was a tween. The most impressive words in my vocabulary happened around four letters. In my defense, I did manage to still spin a decent tale despite the nauseating profanity. Eight months later I wrote my first full length novel. I re-read it recently. I still had a lot to learn about plot construction in a long work, but hey, it’s a decent read.

It was when I was sixteen that I figured out that the key to being a good wordsmith is in being good with words. It’s such a simple concept, I know, but It’s one which continues to escape many aspiring writers. My word choice became careful, meticulous, cautious. Every syllable was measured, every specific facet of syntax merited intense contemplation. After six months of construction (and an eternity of perfecting), I completed The Dimensional Constant, my debut novel.  To say I’m proud of it is an understatement. Not in the style of a creator, but in the sense of a father. But I am expecting another arrival soon- and many more to come.

And yet, ever since I could remember, I’ve been a liar.

Now here’s how you know I’m a writer; contemplate this paradox: I contend I have never been dishonest.

In my experience, there are three types of liars. There are those who lie for material gain, those for power, and those who lie to undermine the rest. I am proud to be of the latter faction. Artists lie to tell a truth. Never THE truth. Putting the singular in front is like tearing out the eyes of every single conscious entity on the planet but leaving your own. Unlike the proverb, though, the one-eyed man isn’t king. He’s the whisper of corruption we all listen for. The malignity of mankind we strive to eliminate.

But where was I? Oh yes. I lie. In clever ways too, if I do say so myself. Like a magician, I dazzle with distraction. I spent a whole paragraph telling my opinion of liars, using clever anecdotes that I unabashedly ripped off from V for Vendetta hybridized with The Things They Carried.  (That’s another style of subtle deceit, but we’ll get to that momentarily). I use clever little words to mimic reality so closely that you feel the cool caress of a summer breeze, or the subtle seductions of lazy creeks in lush, sublime meadows. But you and I both know that it’s all a fantasy. Sure we can get swept up in our little affair, you buy into my words and you, in return grace me with your presence (you humor me),  but we both know it’s only a fling. It’s temporary like a sand castle. Like a memory.

But, again, I’m not dishonest. Sure I lie. And they’re not little-bitty white lies. I mean, for God’s sake, I craft entire realities! But, I use the construct of lies to tell truths that could not be told without them. Like color contrasts, lies and truths complement each other in such a way that one sees a certain perspective impercievable without the melding of these extremes.

I am a thief too: intentionally and unintentionally. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m an agent of duality. I’m a writer). I steal from you the reader, I steal from my predecessors, I steal from history, from reality. My oldest brother once told me that the key to making a good lie (and, by extension, becoming a good artist) is by imbuing reality into my fantasies. They had to be a bit believable, after all, for readers to have faith in them. But that often meant I had to take preexisting conditions and twist them. So I stole from reality. Consciously. I stole mannerisms from my friends and families, I stole the idiosyncracies of total strangers. All so I could steal the greatest treasure from my readers: their time. It’s quite a hefty investment on their part to divulge in literature. Yet it’s certainly not ungratefully received. To say I am flattered is an understatement. With only one life guaranteed to us, the idea of my words occupying even the briefest of periods fills me with a boisterous glee.

Unconsciously, I admit I steal from artists and greater minds than I could aspire to be. I could use the ever popular bandwagon fallacy and just say we all do (it’s true; just look how often we steal from Shakespeare!), but it doesn’t negate the fact that I do, in fact, steal. However, it would be quite interesting to see what would happen if all of the sources from whom I have pilfered came to lay claim to what was theirs. For starters, most would have to be risen from the dead- but once we can acquaint ourselves with maggot-ridden corpses and moist, fleshy skeletons the issue becomes inconsequential.I’d be the most interested in the bidding war. If I had to guess, I’d say Poe would have a majority control of my brain, but Stephen King would play hard ball. But what about the King in me inspired by Poe? What of the Shakespeare that inspired Poe? If we trace the lineage, we’d all be the mental property of Chaucer. But that’s not fair, is it? What does a story of pilgrims mean to us? Well, trace elements of it can be found in everything. Ever. But does that mean that I’m a megalomania bandit, riding off into a sunset of clauses and periods with my ill-aquired stories? Well that’s just plain silly, isn’t it?

I argue that the authors of yesteryear had it coming. How dare they articulate the most innate human experiences and feelings with such poignancy and beauty- and not expect it to be used. Except, they did. They wanted their words to mean something. They wanted their sentences to be branded into your cerebral tissue and tattooed on the inside of your eyelids so you can stare at them at night… Well, perhaps they weren’t so sadistic for the most part, but they wanted them to be used. So I use them. Subconsciously, when I write a story of two lovers, I think of the woe of Juliet and her Romeo. When I type about scalding fire and scorching heat- It’s totally Dante. How about when I think of vomit? Stephanie Meyers.

I am grateful for their words, and I hope I’ve been an honorable thief. I like to think I’m Robin Hood. I steal from the intellectually wealthy, and I give my own thoughts and stories to the needy populous. Who, I also steal time from. (Theft-ception). If it’s any consolation, I’m robbed too. Any time someone reads and internalizes my words, they have taken a portion of my soul. Even if it’s been read a million times, those words have the essence of my outpouring life found in the original copy. Congratulations, you are a proud shareholder in Peter Licari. And I’m a shareholder in you. We’re interconnected in a web of truths, lies, theft, and mutual enjoyment. Has their ever been a sturdier, more nobel interaction?

I steal materials from others, my lies lay the foundation, my desire to write breaks the dirt to begin with, but ultimately I build what is needed of me. Writers are the most prominent social commentators. Novelists just tend be subtle. Ever wonder why you come across real-life revelations when reading a good book? It’s because an author like me did their job well. They took their desire, they spread their truthful lies, they propagated stolen ideas, and they told the story society needed to hear. Richard Wright did this in Native Son. Joy Kogawa did so with Obasan. We needed these books; these tales needed to be told. Because in order to advance ideas, ideas must be advanced. Who better than writers to foster their genesis?

I picked up a pen when I was young with a burning desire to write something (anything!) as long as it was good. Now that desire has become insatiable. Every time I pick up a pen, sit down to type, or merely think of the possibilities, I become ecstatic. I write now because I know it’s a fundamental part of my humanity. Something is transcribed upon my DNA that tells me to get a kick from writing, I’m sure of it. But I strive to articulate more than just a fancy. I strive to become a part of a tradition of muses and story-tellers that ultimately change the world. Every word to paper is placed with the desire and the hope that I can positively influence your life. If I do, I’m glad. I’ll work harder to get better. If I don’t, I’m sorry. I’ll work harder to get better.

Regardless, It’s always going to be an honor for my works to be read. It’s always, dear reader, going to be one hell of a ride.

– Sincerely, Peter Licari


2 Responses to “About”

  1. robincoyle May 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    See how it works? Tee hee.


  1. Caustic Countdown: Four Insanely Mean-Spirited Political Ads « causticcookies - July 17, 2012

    […] About […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: