The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,

But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Robert Frost

Yeah, I have secrets. Not just one, two or three but somewhere close to a hundred. Not sure how or why it happened, but I know that it did.

Some of it is just because of how I was raised and some of it is just how it works, life that is.

People have secrets, even those who say they don’t really do. They might not realize it but if you ask the right questions you’ll stumble upon them.

Most of my secrets aren’t really important. You wouldn’t call them important but for the request of another. They are secrets I share.

Perhaps the reason they aren’t important to me is because they aren’t mine. Maybe it is a mischaracterization to lay claim to them. Maybe it is more accurate to provide a different answer.

I don’t really know and I don’ think it matters. I keep them because they are important to the people who asked me to put them in my vault. Those requests come from people I love and hold close to my heart so I treat their secrets like my own.

But the few secrets I call my own are big. They are huge and at times they have made me wonder what I got myself into.

There is one that sits in the middle of the ring that Frost wrote about. It stares at me with eyes that cut through the poker face I try to maintain.

It demands my attention and asks for a declaration of intention. This is not something I can just ignore or forget. It requires more because to pretend it didn’t exist is to dishonor it and that I cannot do.

For a long while I have ignored my gut and the knowledge that one day the secret would break free of the shackles I placed upon it and force me to face it.

I don’t want to say I am afraid of it because fear is a weakness and men don’t like to be weak.

Yet the only way to figure out why it bothers me is to look at it during the daylight hours. The day is coming when I’ll do that and then we’ll find out if what I sense is real and discover if I am going to end up where I always suspected I would be.


This was for The Write Edge. It was a prompt based upon the Frost poem quoted above. We had a word count of 450 words.

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  1. rdopping July 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    That’s the great thing about bloggers. Eventually the secrets come out. Nice piece Jack

  2. JayneMartin July 21, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Jack, this is wonderful! The ending leaves the reader intrigued and eager for more. Excellent! I’ve been thinking of trying one of these Red Dress challenges myself. 

    • TheJackB July 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Jayne,
      Glad you enjoyed it. I have probably done about 30 of these Red Dress challenges now. I find them to be quite enjoyable. It is just fun to do.

  3. Mark_Harai July 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Shhh… Somebody might hear you thinking : )

  4. Mark_Harai July 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Shhh… Somebody might here you thinking…

  5. bdorman264 July 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Interesting; you did a great job in 450 words or less. 
    I’ve done one of these and it was fun to do. However, I have a ‘few’ GP requests on the table and figure I should get to those before I start thinking of myself. And, I still have my posts to do; I’m not at a point I can crank them daily like you do.
    Thanks for sharing…….

    • TheJackB July 21, 2012 at 12:16 am

       @bdorman264 Give yourself some credit, “you have got this.” You know what you are doing and how to do it. Now it is a question of time.
      Don’t you like how I assume responsibility and talk like I know something. 😉

  6. shelton keys dunning July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Ah, fear isn’t a weakness. Don’t let it control you, to paralyze you.
    I love the way you presented this. Very well done!

    • TheJackB July 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

       @shelton keys dunning Fear intrigues me. It can paralyze you but it can also motivate you.Fear can keep you safe, well fed and warm. It is all a question of how you respond to it.
      I appreciate the feedback, I am glad you enjoyed it.

  7. christina July 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

    well color me intrigued.

    • TheJackB July 21, 2012 at 12:14 am

       finallyMom Intrigued is good. As a writer it feels good to know that you have captured the reader’s attention. I suppose the next question is can you hold it? 😉

  8. Annabelle1 July 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Our own secrets always seem biggest, don’t they?    And the question of dishonoring something by pretending it didn’t happen is a tough one.  I hope you resolve it in a way that works for you. 

    • TheJackB July 21, 2012 at 12:11 am

       @Annabelle1 With rare exceptions, our own secrets do seem to be huge. Sometimes they can feel overwhelming. I suppose it is all a question of how you deal with it.

  9. RebeccaTodd July 20, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I love this post Jack.  I can sense the foreboding behind your words.  Eerie and lovely. Plus I adore Frost. 

  10. Gina1 July 20, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I bet you are talking about a real secret you have. I can sense that in this post.
    I, too, have a steel vault that people have used to store their secrets. It has a security system and everything (not really). I just don’t divulge. I am more likely to divulge one of my secrets than someone else’s. Frankly, at times, storing their secrets has felt like a burden but I’m still undetoured.
    Skeletons, of mine, will never again see the light of day.

    • TheJackB July 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

       @Gina1 There are elements of a real secret here..maybe. 😉
      It is a burden carrying some of those secrets, but those that I have were usually given to me by someone I was glad to help. Makes a big difference.
      As for skeletons, well Georgia I hear that lake water sometimes washes them clean. And damn, in this crazy weather here I sure wish I was at a lake. Would be great.

  11. daizygirl1979 July 20, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I absolutely loved this post…for a couple reasons.
    First, I like that you differentiated between the secrets we simply hold for others and the monstrosities that often gather dust in our own closets.
    Second, I love that this was a blog post and not a fiction piece (I don’t think).  I often feel dwarfed by the wonderful fiction pieces that are linked, and this reassured me that should I take a prompt and write non-fiction, it may still turn out well.  Thank you!

    • TheJackB July 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Secrets intrigue me, in part it is because some of the ones that have been shared with me. They were/are amazing and things that I was glad to look at from a distance and not be a part of.
      When I learned them I couldn’t help but think of how I might respond/feel if they were mine. 
      This post was written as fiction with a dose or two of truth/reality in it. I like blending the two.

  12. cait July 20, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Interesting piece. A little confusing, but you wove in the “secrecy” thread strongly. I like it how you said “one day the secret would break free of the shackles I placed upon it and force me to face it”. Neat wording!

    • TheJackB July 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Hi Cait,
      Brevity and I are often at odds. Still working on trying to trim the fat from some pieces so they have a nicer flow. Appreciate your visiting and comments. Hope you have a great weekend.

  13. Hajra July 20, 2012 at 3:08 am

    You got me confused… you do have a secret or not? Well, that is what I like about your writing, there really is an open thread at the end of it and it makes one think… all the time!
    I have many secrets, and that is the only way people get more interesting; if they have hidden secrets! Yes, I grew up on a lot of mystery novels.

    • TheJackB July 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I wrote this as fiction but there is some truth in there. Isn’t that how all good fiction starts and ends.
      Mystery novels are fun. I like them too.

  14. CrossBetsy July 20, 2012 at 2:01 am

    So, you HAVE a secret? Or not? 
    I don’t know if I have many secrets. Maybe 2. That’s it. But at least one other person knows them. They don’t count as secrets then I guess.
    “ we’ll find out if what I sense is real and discover if I am going to end up where I always suspected I would be.”
    I figure sooner is better than later. Helps you get on with life while you’re young…

    • TheJackB July 20, 2012 at 11:00 am

      I have a few secrets and I would argue that a secret isn’t contigent upon it being known solely by one person. That being said there comes a point where it is not quite the same, but don’t ask me to define where it lies.
      Sooner is better. Impatience makes me want to confront almost everything sooner.

      • CrossBetsy July 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm

         @TheJackB  @CrossBetsy Depends on who knows the secret. To me, if you’ve told someone something in confidence, you absolutely know deep down that there’s a possibility it’ll get out. If you want no one to know, keep it locked up tight!! Even then, God and you both know. 🙂

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