I’m toiling away over LET IT BREATHE, the third book in my contract with Sourcebooks, Inc.
One element of the story involves secrets.
Given the haphazard way I write, that element could be gone in a few weeks, but it’s there now and it got me thinking.
I have a confession. I don’t want you to think less of me, but I need to get this off my chest.
I’m a thief.
I actually didn’t realize I was a thief until a couple days ago when I went searching for a poetry book I acquired in high school. I hadn’t seen it for years, but there was a poem stuck in my head and I wanted to remember the last line.
(Incidentally, the last line contains a comma I don’t recall noticing before, and that single comma changes the entire meaning of the line as I remembered it. Let that be a lesson to all of us as writers!)
In addition to discovering the comma, I also discovered this:
Yes, apparently I stole the book. Back in 1991 at the start of my senior year in high school. I don’t remember consciously stealing it. I don’t remember diving beneath the anti-theft exit under a hail of gunfire or paying a man in a trench coat to slit the librarian’s throat so I could nab this book.
But here it is, evidence of my thievery. I’m not entirely sure what to do about it.
Since it’s been in my possession now for almost 20 years, the odds are slim the school librarian is still wandering the streets with a sniper rifle and a copy of my yearbook photo.
Still, I feel bad. Should I return it? Should I keep it? Should I go to my local police station and turn myself in?
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the cop would say to me. “You stole what?”
“A book of poetry, officer. Do you think there’s any way I can avoid the death penalty if I take a plea deal?”
If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Or if you have confessions of your own, feel free to share. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I’m not your priest or your lawyer, so if you confess to murder, I might have to call the police.
Either that, or write about it in one of my books.