Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Secrets and Secrets

I'm going to build off my previous post a bit by talking about secrets. As story tellers, we have this fantastic opportunity to tell them. More than that, I'd say it's why we're story tellers. On one hand, we create fictional people and expose them like a farmer-tanned truck driver at a nude beach. On the other hand, we also tell our own secrets.

Each bit of something we write is informed by our own lives and experiences. Sometimes the influence is slight, sometimes it's not. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three stories I've written which are a translation of a struggle from my own life. Writing the piece helped me work through that struggle, but I also wanted it to be a story in its own right, not just therapy. So, one situation became a completely different one. A character was removed, added, their gender/age changed. In the end, the story I wrote bore little resemblance to the actual details of why I wrote it. Yet, the truth of the situation was still there for me.

As I get further into this whole writing thing, I find more and more that the secrets I tell in my fiction are my own. Strange, especially when I remember turning to fiction as a way to tell other people's. During my last poetry workshop, I even made myself a note: "Fiction is telling other people's secrets, poetry is telling my own." That was only a handful of months ago and it's already untrue.

My questions: When you write, whose secrets do you tell? Has it always been that way? Do you find yourself going in phases from one to the other? How do they translate/evolve?

8 comments:

-John said...

If you knew the secret of my secrets, they would no longer be secrets anymore, now would they? I suppose I could cloud the secret with a fake secret, to make one think they were learning a secret. However, then the weight of the secret becomes twofold, and then the secrets could even get confused, to the point when a lie is told to cover a secret, then the secret is lied to by the truth, and eventually the system breaks down, and even if the true secret is revealed, no one is interested in listening anymore.

Jenny said...

I tell John's secrets.

Ali said...

I had to chuckle when I read that. Now I'm envisioning you camped out w/binoculars, spying on John as he brushes his teeth or something.

Come on have a bit of empathy, I'm sure he's traumatized already, given that unfortunate paparazzi incident he doesn't like to mention.

-John said...

HEY!!! That's only a rumor, now if you'll excuse me, I have opaque curtains that I need to buy.

Mishell said...

I tell everybody's secrets, even mine. Especially mine. I think that's why they say that writers die a little with every piece they write. No matter who's secret you're telling, it becomes yours when you tell it.

Oh, and John, opaque curtains won't work as long as there is heat sensing equipment available.

Whittaker Luckless said...

Quick, John! Camouflaging heat lamps! If it's all heat, heat sensing does nothing!

Or you could turn into a vampire.

Transylvania! Quick! To the Batplane!

Whittaker Luckless said...

I, like John, have secrets, which could be told. Concievably, they are unknown to most people, and I realize all the things I notice are around. I'll tell all the secrets, but when I do, there will be words involved, and they will be spelled out.

So eventually the truth will be written down. Keep your eyes open, and you'll see some secrets of someone.

-John said...

Hopefully everyone is still staking out the fake address I have posted on my fan club website...guess I better change it again.