Essays About Keeping Secrets

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ROOM: Walk me through your process of writing essays. I think when we were starting the book—I always say “we” because my editors were extremely elemental in the development of it—the proposal was completely different from what ended up being the book. They give you a contract that says 60,000 words, and you’re like, “How? ROOM: I’m wondering how you wove this coherent narrative together. The last essay in the collection [“Anyway”] was the last thing I had written for my book. I’m sure there are people who read it and disagree with my interpretation of what happened. Why do you think it’s so important for people to be able to see themselves reflected in culture? Even if I didn’t write anything, I would just make sure that I sat there and looked at the computer, and try to not play on Twitter.

SK: I think about something that makes me mad, and then I write about it. I don’t understand.” And then two years go by and then, “Ooh, alright.” ROOM: You have a lot to say. ROOM: What I loved about your book is that it was so cohesive—even while discussing different topics you explored the same aspects in different ways. And that’s the one about my dad and the silent treatment. I would write an essay, and I would give it [to the editors], and at the end we read all of them and made sure it felt like there was a thread going through. ” Maybe that’s for another time, or maybe that’s for the Internet, where one thing can live and float into the ether and not matter in a larger context. Also, when you try and get people to buy an essay collection, you have to give them a theme. [Joan] Didion can just say, “Here’s a book of stuff that I’m feeling.” David Sedaris just released a collection of diary blurbs. In one interview you said that in order to feel like you can write freely, “I have to write like they’re already dead.” SK: I said that at a live event while they were in the audience, and I was like “Ugh, this isn’t working.” [Laughs] ROOM: But how do you achieve that distance when you’re writing? My dad didn’t read the book, because I think he knew it would make him squeamish. ROOM: [Laughs] In your book, you wrote about how you hid your relationship from your parents for years, and the emotional fallout. SK: If you come from a group of people who are traditionally oppressed, you don’t have a lot of proof that there’s a way out of that. Then, when I was older, I was like, —I didn’t know that.

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (verse 12–13). But secrets kept for the wrong reason earn a person the title of “wicked,” for “a wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice” (Proverbs ), and “whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence” (Psalm 101:5). Even our “secret sins” are exposed in His light (Psalm 90:8).

Keeping secrets of one type is always wrong: trying to hide sin. “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Luke ). There are some things—probably many things—hidden from us: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy ).

Proverbs, the central book among the “wisdom literature” of the Bible, is the most explicit about keeping secrets.

Chapter 11 says that “a man of understanding holds his tongue.

There are some things that people should know and some things they should not.

God’s concern is how secrets are used, whether to protect others or to hurt them.

" Answer: A secret can be difficult to keep and equally difficult to share.

Yet life seems to run on secrets, from concealing birthday presents to obscuring a difficult past to protecting the whereabouts of an important political figure.


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