My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have perhaps six months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Unspoken Secrets

"As usual, there was a story behind the story, and that is where the truth was hidden." -- Kenneth Eade

People trust me, I know, which is why they tell me the secrets they share with no one else.  The banker recounts to me that his daughter is battling leukemia.  The entrepreneur at the coffee shop tells me that he survived a brain aneurism eleven months ago.  My seatmate on a plane explains to me that the 40-year-long love affair she shared with an extraordinary man has just ended with his death -- and because their relationship was secret, she cannot cry with anyone she knows.  Yet she cries with me, silently, while I hold both her hands.

I've come to the conclusion that, despite outward appearances, we know almost nothing of the private hopes and griefs of others.  Their internal lives, hidden from us, provide the narrative of their days.  Yet their family members, their co-workers, their best friends and neighbors -- may never know the truth of this silent story.  It often remains buried, like a diamond, in the vast rocky landscape of the mind.  But it's the stone of greatest value in that territory.  It's where the spirit returns again and again, checking, worrying -- is the diamond still where it was so carefully placed?

I don't know why people have begun to tell me their deepest longings, their most profound regrets, their unspoken truths.  I just know that I feel abundant compassion toward everyone I meet.  I love them, mysteriously enough.  And somehow they realize this mystery -- and begin to confide in me about love and death, joy and heartbreak, passion and loneliness.  And I listen -- honored to be the one they've chosen -- privileged to stand by them while they unearth their most hidden, most treasured truths.  Like diamonds cupped in their gentle hands, their secrets shine brightly indeed.

10 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you about the private hopes and griefs of people, even those we know well. Sometimes the most important knowledge is kept secret because, well, . . . reasons.

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  2. Do you think everyone has an unspoken secret? All of us?

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    1. I do. Sometimes it's a secret we've kept from ourselves -- we disallow its truth to such an extreme. But yes, I do think everyone harbors their unspoken truth.

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  3. People did not confide in you to such a degree five or ten years ago?

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  4. Yes, so many people have a "silent story" that is central to their lives! This is true!

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    1. Yes -- and often the "silent story" wants to be spoken aloud.

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  5. Why do you think people are telling you their deepest thoughts/secrets?

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    1. I don't know. All I can say is that I feel a profound connection to others -- and they seem to reciprocate most generously in sharing their innermost lives with me. It's an honor, really, to receive these confidences. I'm still trying to adjust to it, actually -- still trying to comprehend what it means.

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