Creative nonfiction writers wrestle constantly with the boundaries of creative license—what to reveal, when to reveal it, and how best to do it. While the truth may inspire us to make confident assertions, secrets, lies, and half-truths inspire us to delve further into our own writing to discover the heart of the story. The pieces in this collection feature essayists who do this type of detective work. Each essay contains a secret, lie, or half-truth—some of these are revealed by the author, but others remain buried. Ranging from the deep family secret to the little white lie, from the shocking to the humorous, and from the straightforward revelation to the slanted half-truth, these essays ask us to appreciate the magnitude of keeping a secret. They also ask us to consider the obstacles writers must overcome if they want to write about secrets in their own lives and the lives of others. In short interviews following each essay the contributors discuss craft, ethics, creativity, and how they eventually decided to reveal—or not reveal—a secret.
“Kept Secret is an engaging collection of essays about what we reveal and when we reveal it, how we shape and are shaped by our memories, and the varied ways we all tell true stories about ourselves and others. All grapple with the full truth of halftruths in ways that make a reader think and feel more deeply. The short interviews that follow each essay offer additional insights as well as the writer's intentions; together, they create a kaleidoscopic and yet transparent view of how nonfiction works whenit works really well.”
—Anna Leahy, coauthor of Generation Space: A Love Story and author of Tumor