In the economy of gossip, confession is the platinum card. The fact that it's almost always expedient and self-serving doesn't detract from its potency as human drama. We confess to a priest to gain absolution, to a therapist to facilitate healing, to the police in the hope that it will mitigate criminal prosecution. We confess so someone will stop beating the soles of our feet. I've confessed to unspeakable things simply so someone would allow me to go back to sleep. But whatever the purpose, confessions tend to be theatrical, hyped up with suspense and often desperation, and always—and most important—shame. Shame is the absolute indispensable essence of confession. And that's what's stopped me in the past from confessing.
— Mark Leyner
Mark's latest novel is The Tetherballs of Bougainville.
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.