Of Secrets & Abundance

My father and I both noticed the line.

Top of the third paragraph, rounding off the first sentence: “…there are no secrets of the craft unless they are shared and cease to be secret.”

Painter Antonio Martorell wrote it in the introduction to an exhibit of artist José R. Alicea. And I wanted to kiss Mr. Martorell. Or write his 16 words in light-filled letters across the whole horizon. Pave them in wet cement. Legislate them in state houses. Or all of the above.

Secrets are the ego’s currency. I have power because I have something you don’t: a craft or technique, piece of information, hot tip, something to leapfrog me ahead.

The word secret comes from Latin meaning, among other things, “set apart.” Which is what secrets do: they set us apart. We horde them, stash them, spend energy keeping them to ourselves, apart from others.

Mr. Martorell, though, is talking about generosity. Throw open the doors, break down the walls, blow the roof off the place; all are welcome - take what you need, but only if you promise to smear it around, friend.


That’s the raw beauty of abundance, surplus, cups running over, trees thick with fruit. It’s a bottomless well, if we choose to drink from it.

But what my father and I saw at the exhibit, what popped our eyes open wider, was Mr. Martorell’s entreaty: Share. Share until the secrets’ walls crumble and knowledge spills out into the streets and lifts us all.

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