This weekend I managed to finally finish a short story, which was cause for celebration. The reason to celebrate is two-fold. The first reason is because with my new job, writing has been more along the lines of I hope I get time as opposed to I hope the family will let me write. It’s been cause for adjustment. The second reason is that I don’t write short stories very well. They have this habit of going from starting as a short story and turning into a novel idea. See Life Without Parole for an example of this.
So, with those two reasons to bolster me, I celebrated, patted myself on the back.
Monday comes along and when my boss gets in she asks how my weekend was. My answer: “I finished a short story!” Of course, due to the fact that to her I’m an artist and not a writer I had to explain that I write stories. Once I did she told me that it was great I finished and expressed understanding when I clarified that it was only the first draft. Fast forward to an hour or so later and her boss, the gentleman in charge of our whole program, asks me the same question. He received the same answer and had the same puzzlement as my boss. It was my boss who explained that “She writes in her spare time.”
I did not like the sound of that at all. That’s not what I want to be, a spare time writer though, in the spirit of honesty I have to admit that I am. I can admit the truth but that doesn’t mean I have to like it right?
Anyway, back to the gentlemen. Once he understood he looked at me and said, “Oh, well, pass it around, let us read it.” Or something along those lines.
Didn’t expect that response. For someone who always has something to say, his request left me speechless for a second. I managed to pull myself up fast enough to reply, “Sure, after the fifth draft is done.” I gained my objective in earning a laugh as the pair left the office to leave me alone to panic.
Now, before any funny ideas come along, let me explain. I wasn’t panicking because someone I barely knew wanted to read my story. On the contrary, I was mystified and quite thrilled at his interest. This job isn’t my first one, nor is it the only job where I write in my “spare time”. Neither is it the only job where I’ve proclaimed with pride the finishing of a project, scene, or whatever.
This is the first job where someone asked to read it without knowing me fairly well. Hence the panic. I truly didn’t know what to think about the request.
Fast forward to Tuesday after the idea and thought has marinated in my noggin long enough to morph from panic to trepidation. I realized that I shouldn’t have been surprised. The reason I shouldn’t is because I work at a University. Yeah, you read that right. What that means is that they are in the business of encouraging individuals to greater heights, usually with academics, but also in personal endeavors. That’s their business, their job, their passion (we hope). The group I work for specifically furthers that by assisting specific disciplines to encourage them and to have them encourage each other. It’s general, but that’s the sum of it. As a result, it probably felt completely natural and automatic for him to offer to read it.
Yet, I still feel nervous about the idea. Not because of the offer, but because of who he is. His job is to run our group PLUS he’s the head of his department. He has students, meetings, faculty, our group, plus a whole host of things I don’t know about as of yet. He’s busy in other words, but he’s also big league so to speak, he’s probably on a first name basis with the Dean of his school. It’s easy to forget that too due to how sweet and nice he is. Very down to earth, easy to talk to type of guy. You know, the perfect boss that gives you a little bit of direction then lets you go your merry way as long as he knows what you’re doing.
Despite all of that, he’s offering to read my little 5,000 word piece about a truck driver….
Fortunately, I’m at the stage in my life where I no longer have this fear of a negative review for my story. Sure, I hope he’ll like it, but I know if he doesn’t my world won’t crumble…at least I’m fairly sure it won’t…