# of pages written: 4.5
# of days left to write 1st draft: 138
The other day Nate was sitting at the kitchen table with his laptop, laughing. “Do you ever read Post Secret?” he asked.
“Not really,” I said. “But I know what it is.”
“Have you ever sent them a secret?”
“No.” Then I thought about it for a minute. “Wait. Yes. Yes I have.”
Then began a truly bizarre experience.
I remembered the day that my friend Allyson and I went to an art event in DC and stumbled upon the Post Secret room, which was decorated with postcards of people’s secrets, written in pen, or magic marker, or glued on with cut-out letters from magazines like ransom notes. I remember the stack of blank, white postcards by the door, over which hung a sign: “send us your secret.”
“I’m not sure I have any secrets,” I told Allyson. “I tend to tell everyone everything.” But I took a postcard and stuffed it in my purse.
I remember talking a walk the next day and realizing I did have a secret. Something dark. Something I’d never never told anyone, ever. I remember going home and writing the secret on the postcard in blue pen. I remember that I made two of the words in all-caps.
But I don’t remember what those words were.
In fact, I don’t remember what the secret was at all.
“Oh my god,” I told Nate. “I did send them a secret. A real secret. And now I don’t remember what it was!” I was grinning weirdly, but I was becoming slightly anxious. What was my secret? Why could I not remember it?
I got online and went to PostSecret.com. I had sent the secret in late Spring. I scrolled through the archived secrets of May, and then June, and then July. I figured I would recognize my own handwriting, but it wasn’t there. I went back to April, then I scrolled through everything again, but to no avail.
The next day I told Nikki what had happened. “What if,” I said, “by writing down that secret and sending it off, I somehow expunged it from my system and it’s gone forever? I want it back! That was my secret!”
Nikki seemed sure I would remember it eventually.
But that was almost a week ago. And I still can’t remember. I do think that this secret is still in my brain somewhere. I’m sure it will come to me randomly, probably months from now when I’ve completely forgotten about it. It will just pop into my brain while I’m watering the garden or going to the bathroom.
The brain is a funny thing.
It makes me wonder what else is hiding in my brain. What other secrets are stuffed into dim and dusty corners? What do I have to do to sweep them out into the light?
It makes me realize another secret that’s hidden in my brain: the secret to writing a novel. I have written two novels in my life. One when I was twenty-four, and one when I was twenty-eight. Neither were very good, but they’re finished, which is their redeeming quality. I stuck with them for nearly four hundred pages each. Now I’m wondering how I ever did it before – it seems impossible. But I must have this knowledge in my brain somewhere.
I think, in both cases, the secret is there. It’s just hiding from me right now. And it will pop out when I’m not looking for it. When I least expect it.