All the Secrets

I was up by four again this morning. There’s something about four in the morning, isn’t there? Something about that hour calls me out of bed and tells me to reveal what’s on my mind. And I do. This morning, I made my coffee and added to the “drafts” I could, if I so chose, post on this blog one day. The number of available drafts now stands at sixty-six. And the number I’ve actually posted is 2,032. Closing in on 2,100 on this blog alone. But that number doesn’t include the things I’ve written and saved only on my computer; I haven’t counted those pieces I have opted not to store, even in draft form in an ostensibly inaccessible place, on the internet. Because we all know internet sites can be hacked. Private information can be made public. And there are just some secrets that should remain secret. Actually, all the secrets one holds close should remain secret. That word, “secret,” is so laden with undeserved intrigue. Sometimes, secrets are simply pieces of oneself one wishes to keep private.

Before I began writing this post, I scanned through a photo subdirectory on my computer. I looked at photos of people and places and objects that at one time sufficiently captured my attention to warrant recording those images. Most of those images still hold enough interest to justify keeping them; I may one day delete some of those image files, but for now, I want to keep them so I can see them again. I suppose it’s the same with some, perhaps most, of my writing. Whether I classify them as drafts or finished pieces, I want to keep them where I can read them or otherwise use them in the future.

Most of my draft blog posts will never be made public simply because they disclose thoughts I wanted to record only for myself, not for others who stumble upon my blog. But, then, that’s true even of the public posts. Yet most of the ones that reside behind the privacy curtain were never meant to be, and never will be, made public. I suppose I’m just used to using the convenient interface the blog provides for me. So, the question arises: why not just use Word for all drafts and, when they are suitable, simply copy and paste them to the blog for posting? I don’t know. This morning, before I began writing this post, I wrote two drafts on the blog and one longer piece in Word. One of the drafts here will most certainly not make it to the public part of the blog; the other might. But the piece I wrote in Word may or may not. I don’t know why I chose to hold that longer piece here. The pieces I wrote using the blog interface probably will migrate away from the blog and find their way onto my computer’s hard drive.

Last night, we had dinner with friends who had two out-of-town visitors. One of the visitors, a psychology professor, asked what I was doing in retirement. I told her I was involved in a number of things, but that the most captivating activity is my writing. I have been thinking of my response ever since. Is writing the most captivating thing I’m doing? If it is, why am I doing it in such a disjointed fashion? What’s keeping me from finishing pieces, from even wanting to finish pieces I start? I haven’t answered my questions entirely, but I think the most important reasons have to do with all the secrets that writing has the potential to reveal. All the secrets. Secrets one may not know even about oneself.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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