Monday, December 9, 2013


Image courtesy of photostock
Perhaps I am just being perverse, but I like being secretive. 

Some secrets are toxic and bad and unhealthy, of course. The ones that you are forced to keep. A gay person who’s in the closet out of fear, for example.

On the other hand, when you’re choosing, there are some real advantages to having secrets.

That’s why it’s a recurring motif in super-hero stories. They all lead double lives: the everyday one and the one being … well … Superman.

Not everybody has to know everything all the time.

What are the advantages?

Writers often say that you should never talk about what you are writing because that telling – that off-the-cuff, ephemeral telling -- becomes the telling and you never get around to writing it. Every time you tell a version of a story, it loses power.

I have two friends. When Friend A decides to try something new, she tells everyone all about it. In fact, I think she expends so much energy in the telling, there’s none left for the doing. Because more often than not, she doesn’t get around to the doing. For instance, if she wanted to learn tae kwon do, she’d tell everyone, then never get herself to a lesson. Friend B never says a word about what she’s planning. If she decided to do tae kwon do, the first you would hear of it would be when she mentioned off-handedly that she’s a triple black belt. See the difference?

Of course, when you don’t continually trumpet your existence to the world, you might end up being like the kid who runs off and hides and no one comes looking for him.

Since I like hiding, I’ll take the risk.

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