My syllabi, along with stories by Amy Hempel and Charles Baxter, are copied and stacked in manila envelopes, my sport coats have all been dry cleaned, and I’ll most likely cut myself while shaving in the morning—which is all to say that school starts tomorrow.

On the first day, I make the students do one of those things they tend to respond less than enthusiastically to: an icebreaker.

I learned this icebreaker at a summer writing class I once took with this guy, and ever since, I’ve incorporated it into the little introduction cards I have my students do on the first day of class. (Though I hadn’t ever heard of this icebreaker until I took the workshop with S.S., I did notice that an episode of Veronica Mars this past year used the same icebreaker).

Anyway, it goes like this: You write down three statements about yourself—two that are true and one that’s a lie.

I then use this little exercise to talk about how the students go about creating the lies—working with or against assumptions other students in the class may have about them, the types of specific details people use when doing a good job of lying, and about how fiction itself, while telling “lies,” is almost always attempting to get at the truth, and sometimes may be the only way of really getting at the wondrous complexities of these things we call “truths.”

So, in the spirit of blog, and since I have a little more space, I’ll offer five things about myself for my four loyal readers readers to peruse. Three of the statements are true; two aren’t. Feel free to make some guesses about the lies in comments, and since this woman probably won’t be playing a game this Thursday, go ahead and tell some truths and lies about yourselves at your places and we’ll come see if we can figure out which is which.
* * *
I was married for six months when I was eighteen years old.

I played right field for the Garden City Community College (Garden City, KS) Broncbusters.

I worked as a juvenile probation officer for two years before going to grad school.

The guy who I loosely based this story on is actually my fraternal twin.

Nove anni fa, ho vissuto per un semestre a Firenze, Italia.


fringes said...

Okay, I'm in. Play here.

Writing Blind said...

Ooh, this is fun. I'll guess that #1 and #4 are the lies. I think I'm going to go play on my own blog now.

Flood said...

I am gonna guess that #1 and #4 are lies.

Chad Simpson said...

Since my readers have all shown up--even if Fringes didn't hazard a guess--I'll reveal the answers.

Sadly, because you're both right.

My brother and I are "Irish" twins, though: we were born exactly 51 weeks apart and thus are the same age for a week each year.

fringes said...

I was still guessing! But now I know you have a brother. This game was fun.

Flood said...

I hope I won something. Like a postcard from Italy.

Lisa said...

I like this. Wonder if I could adapt it and somehow use it on my blog?! We could all tell some lies about food. Hmm. I'm going to think on that.

Chad Simpson said...

Lisa, I definietely think the lying about food would be interesting. Especially for a bunch of foodies.

I, for instance, don't like olives, baked beans, artichokes, or salami.

OK, only two of those are true. But which ones?