In an opinion piece in The New York Times, author Alice Mattison tells us that the characters in the novel she is writing demand total privacy. They don't want her blabbing about their thoughts and actions. "If I talk about the book, I believe - I cannot help believing - my characters will be angry, and will no longer confide in me about their embarrassing, troubled lives." Here is Mattison's op-ed.
There is, I am discovering, a strange voodoo in not talking. Demanding privacy or as it used to be called - "having a secret" - gives us power. We roam our lives carrying inside ourselves a force field we ourselves create and rule.
That, for instance, gives the unique presence to couples planning to marry who haven't yet announced it. We feel that when they enter the room. Once an announcement is made, the power is gone.
People who never bought into the Oprah ethos of full disclosure seem to be more successful than those who can't stop revealing stuff about themselves. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is no blabber-mouth. Also, they tend to attract more friends. We want to be let into their world.
Recently I had told my social networks in Connecticut, my adopted home state, that I was pulling up roots and relocating my communications boutique to Arizona. I had kept that information private for a while. Instinct told me I had to. First I had to absorb the wrenching change for myself before I could handle others' reactions. That's when I got it that secrets trump being open. We get control of how we live our lives in ways we can't when our being is totally transparent.
There's one more thing. Overwhelmed human beings in 2014 don't want to listen to the details of our lives. Too much is already going on in their own.