Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Puzzle Pieces

We never really know anybody's life, do we? Even the nearest and dearest, we only know a piece of what's going on. We reveal little snippets here and there in conversation and on Facebook and in our blogs. We don't really know anybody's day but ours, the whole picture, the shape of the day, how we feel in the morning, how we feel about the day or the life.

We ask "How did you sleep?" "How was your commute?" "How was your weekend?"

Then later, "How was your day?"

What do we answer? We say what we think they want to hear, what we're willing to share, the highlights, but we don't truly answer. We all have secrets. Some of us have big secrets. Some of us have a secret so big that we carry it around all day, touching it lightly with our fingertips to remind ourselves that it's really there.

My own secrets are becoming a little problematic because I'm writing about my life. I'm writing a memoir about a year in my life and I'm skimming over some sticky parts. This is fundamentally dishonest. It may weaken the writing. So when I finish the first 75 pages and they are all polished and prettified and sent out and I can start writing rough again, I will tell all my secrets, get them out on the page. I don't have to show them to anybody.

Right now I'm telling myself that many personal details don't matter in this memoir, that this memoir is about the financial life and this might be true. Or it might be a cop out. The only way to find out is to let all the secrets out. Maybe I'll have to include some and hurt people. There's only one way to find out.

At any rate, I can't keep censoring myself. If I keep doing that, than the final picture of my life will be alike a puzzle with missing pieces, gaping holes where meaning is missing.

I am all the puzzle pieces. My life is all the puzzle pieces. Write every puzzle piece, no matter how ugly or awkward the shape. If you don't, then you won't have a prettier picture. You'll just have a picture with an awkward, ugly hole.

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