Friday, January 3, 2014

it is important to tell our secrets

"It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are - even if we tell it only to ourselves - because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier that way to see where we have been in our lives and where we are going. It also makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about."

- Frederick Buechner
Telling Secrets

- with thanks to Whiskey River

I keep going back (for years I have been coming back....) to this quotation from Woolf's Waves:

How much better is silence; the coffee-cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee-cup, the knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.

To be who we truly are, to sit with bare things, to sit with silence. To tell ourselves, at least, the secret of who we are. To ask ourselves the question, who am I?

This sounds quite simple. But I think it's something we must do everyday, or at least, very often.

I suppose those of us who write something resembling poetry have recourse to this - as a poem will listen to the secret of who we are.

I've always been fond of the line Nicole Brossard writes in her Intimate Journal:

"You have to be insane to confide the essential to anyone anywhere except in a poem."

Not every confession need be essential of course.

Today's photographs: ginger ale and strawberry ice cream.

One last note, a brag: my forthcoming book Asking was mentioned in an article in the Edmoton Journal. A small mention, but a reminder that the book is 'real.' One begins to doubt.....


  1. I was wondering what the concoction was, thanks for saying. I love the quote about sitting alone like an old seabird. I relate to that!!!!! Congrats on the book mention. That is way cool.

  2. I like the particular gray you chose for the background of these quietly delicious-looking photos. It adds something important. And how interesting to say - a poem will listen to the secret of who we are - instead of -- a poem will tell the secret of who we are. Love the last line of the Woolf quote, too. Things as they are - it seems not in keeping with telling secrets, but you show a more subtle way into both the notion of telling secrets and that of appreciating things as they are.


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