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Shared Secrets

by Anthony Mcaloon about a year ago in how to
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by Anthony McAloon

“A little book, that’s all it is”.

I keep repeating it to myself. “It’s just a book! A little black book. Nothing more”.

As long as I can keep that one single thought, front and center in my mind, then I am safe. But why does it consume my every waking thought and why do I feel so compelled to keep it?

Why, after all these years, am I so fixated on writing in this book? Sharing my innermost thoughts. My secrets, my fears, my dreams scrawled within its pages. After all, it’s not as though they’re anything special, or even original. It’s just a collection of random thoughts.

Mostly for peace of mind, I think. To keep my thoughts straight. Organized. Maintaining continuity has a wonderfully calming effect on me and its very existence radiates a warmth that soothes my otherwise nervous disposition.

I briefly lost it once. What a kerfuffle that was. Talk about confusion, an implosion of sorts. I was lost without it as though a part of myself was missing. It’s my fountain of knowledge, my private wiki that only I can add to or decipher. It would be useless to anyone else and the code is masked in cryptic annotations that only I know the meaning of. I didn’t really need it for anything in particular on that day. It was more like a “just in case” situation. But I do worry about what would happen if I really needed it and couldn’t find it? End of world scenario, but let’s not go there. Too painful. Crisis averted.

This is too important to trivialize. This is my life, my work, my living I’m talking about, not just a collection of whimsical, disconnected musings of a recluse. My writing depends on it. My bank balance depends on it. Now it never leaves my sight. I take it with me wherever I go. It’s my best friend and it keeps my secrets very well. Locked in the vault so to speak.

Like the secret that I shared yesterday within the secure confines of its pages. Just one of many that provide me with a sense of satisfaction and a belief that it’s all worth it. It’s my own personal incubator of ideas, a fertile field within which to plant, nourish, and harvest ideas. It allows me time to consider, explore and critique, and provides the space I need to let them ebb and flow, to watch them die or grow. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to trust myself. To trust that I am as capable as anyone in whatever I apply myself to. My thoughts can be monetized, and my words on paper are worth a thousand times their weight in gold. I’ve been offered a contract to write a series of short stories based on the contents of my book. They’ve given me twenty thousand dollars to focus on an elaboration of six vignettes of my choice, all based on my observations of life and captured in my own unique way. That little black book generates enough income for me to maintain my peaceful, reflective and independent existence.

And yet, at times it seems like a lot of effort to keep it going, and I keep telling myself – go digital. Take the plunge. Move platforms and go “all-in” on tech. Trust Alexa, or maybe switch to i-notes.

But no, that’s not my style. This isn’t just a process to be mindlessly followed. It’s a ritual. A spiritual journey. A bonding.

I need to hold it, to feel safe in the security of its soft, supple skin and the curve of its spine. It’s a living thing, an extension of me. Imbued with my psyche. My entire mental process contained within. It’s who I am - who I choose to be. No different from the shoes on my feet, the hat on my head or, the splash of color around my neck. I love it and the relationship I have with it. No other pronouns required. Very selfish I know, but I need it and it needs me. It can’t exist without me and at times I feel as though I don’t exist without it. No artificial intelligence here, just good old human/paper interaction. It never lets me down. When I feel the need to share my thoughts, it offers me help without judgment, guiding my thoughts and my hand in the process.

No, its not just a book. It’s my little black book. I am it, and it is me.

That’s just how I like it.

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Anthony Mcaloon

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