Thursday, November 5, 2009
Karen keeps a secret. Not a dirty little secret. Not one of those garden-variety-I-fooled-around-on-my-husband secrets. Not an I-had-an-abortion-and-never-told-anybody-and-live-with-the-guilt secret. No, her secret is vile and deep-rooted. The dank subterranean pull of the lie bleeds heavier with each passing year. Karen lives on borrowed time because it’s impossible to keep something buried forever. There’s no way around it, someday the past will show up unannounced. Morning after morning comes the light and she wonders if the truth will visit that day. Her ugly deeds exposed—on display—out in the open. Karen plays the good wife and mother beneath the shade provided by a seed planted long ago, she feigns bliss in a make believe world under a tree rooted in hell.
You just read the first paragraph from a WIP about a woman with a terrible secret. I thought I was writing a short story, but it may be better suited to a novel format. I’m fascinated by secrets. When we’re younger we tend to keep more secrets. But, as we get older we tend to think—oh who cares anymore! Who gives a rat's ass about what people think? The truth will set you free. At least that’s how I feel about it. When someone says to me, “I have something to tell you, but you can’t tell anyone I told you.” I respond with, “Stop. No way. Don’t tell me. I don’t want the responsibility. If you don’t want anyone to know, keep it to yourself.” I truly feel, that if a person doesn’t want something out in the world, then they shouldn’t put it out there.
Here’s another wrinkle. Do sociopaths keep secrets? Or do they possess the ability to just eliminate past horrible deeds from their memory banks? Their minds become a chalkboard wiped clean. After such maniacs are captured, they’re questioned extensively, and still they won’t come clean with the truth. I’ve heard them described as being totally void of guilt. They claim that sociopaths don’t possess a conscience.
I suppose anyone that keeps the truth hidden from view could be considered a con artist of sorts. Why don’t liars come clean? Teenagers are really bad for this; they just won’t confess all that easily. They can really get themselves into a jam by sneaking around and lying. I read that teen-agers brains aren’t fully developed, so they quite often lack proper judgment. Grown-ups often fall into that category as well. We know better but act atrociously anyway.
Families often have secrets, like the Kennedy’s with poor unfortunate Rosemary. Do you keep secrets? What’s your favorite story featuring a secret, or secrets? Remember Chinatown? What Happened to Baby Jane? How about Jane Eyre? That Mr. Rochester, did he have a secret!
All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.