Saturday, December 31, 2022

Quote of the Hour: Secrets

In the way that every American has his secret America in him, he or she is marked by that secret. In my secret America I once wrote something I should not have. It had a devastating impact on someone's life and vocation. The ramifications of it were such that even now I cannot say anything about it, who it was or when it was or where; for that matter, having just told you that it happened, I must now deny that it happened at all. I occasionally have a dream in which I meet this person, years later, and the fury is still hard in this person's face. Were I to have the opportunity to go back in my life and take back one thing I have done, and though I certainly would have an array of things to choose from, the choice would nonetheless be clear. The alteration or deletion, indeed, of a single word might have changed everything. I thought at the time like all Americans that malice had to lie at the root of all evil, that if one was innocent in his intentions he was innocent in his actions. I still haven't decided what it means that no one quite believes I didn't do it on purpose. I don't think you really feel guilty about it, someone said to me about a year ago. Driving home I knew he was wrong, but I also knew it didn't matter. I knew he might as well have been right. There's malice, I believe it was said in these pages before, in the na├»ve act that has malicious consequences, and though I cannot say more about it here, you'll just have to take my word for it that what happened and the way it happened has everything to do with America.
 - Steve Erickson, Leap Year, p.187

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