Coming Out of the Writer’s Closet

Very few people in my day-to-day life know that I’ve published so much as a sentence. It was something I started (or rather avoided) as a bit of a defense mechanism. Maybe it’s because I’m not at the level I want to be and am therefore not as proud as I could and should be, and maybe because I can handle strangers’ disapproval, but people I care about are different.

I’ve mentioned that several of my closest friends don’t know, and I recently realized that isn’t quite true. Certain of my close friends don’t know, and upon further reflection, I still stand by that decision. They are loved and loving in their own ways, but they are also total bitches. I’m on too shaky of ground to deal with all that, actually. I also have a feeling (and yes, I’m aware that this says things about my friendships) that they would be prone to criticize for the sake of doing so and having something to say. I think they would be honest and complimentary, but with an Edge of Bitch that I don’t need any more of in my life.

There are others who I wish I hadn’t told, mainly people at work (all two of them), sometimes my ex (though he was and remains supportive through the cloud of his weed smoke. Bless his addled brain.). It’s taught me to be secretive in a way…and who doesn’t like a secret identity?

However, I realized that there was one person who, if she didn’t exactly deserve to know, it was sort of an offensive omission to not tell her. The person is my cousin. We grew up more like brother and sister. She says that we should have been twins, but I’m a guy and wouldn’t ask for directions, and I was probably on the notoriously tardy Gay Time, so I ended up being born two years later and to Sister #2 instead of Sister #1. It sounds logical to me. *nod*

I finally told her a few days ago. Her reaction was to be happy for me and to not criticize or beat me for not telling her earlier. Her tact went further in that she asked if it was okay that she reads my novel. Of course I said yes. What she doesn’t know is that my short story, “The Snow Queen”, was dedicated to her. “For my cousin, who knows nothing, but means everything.” Since it’s now lamentably out of print (for now), I will send it to her. She offered to be my beta reader in the future, and since I have lost one or two, I plan to take her up on that. She will be absolutely honest but will be tactful about it, like she has been about everything else in my life, and those are qualities much revered in a human being and definitely in a beta reader.

The entire conversation was pure catharsis. She’s known me since birth and her whole demeanor was that this was something I should be doing. She gave me a pep talk and apparently has kept something I wrote like two years after high school. She was able to hold a mirror up to me and my journey thus far and let me know that, not only is it not over, it’s just beginning. I ran some of my better ideas past her and she was excited about them. She asked questions. She almost cussed me out when I told her that I had stopped writing them. “So, you’re telling me all these exciting things and then saying I’ll never be able to read them?” The tone was disapproving and very much saying, “This isn’t the person I know.” She said I sounded excited about them, even now. She understood putting these big ideas aside until I can do them justice, but said something I’ve told myself all along, “Well, how are you going to ever get that experience if you aren’t writing, and if you let life sap that part out of you?” Life intrudes, yes. But those intrusions should be something that inspires you, not stops you.

Get out of my head, woman.

It was invigorating in a way that I can’t describe. It was enlightening like a mental O. It was a gentle kick in the ass. It was a delicate motivation done in a way that said she simultaneously believed in me while being a little disappointed that I’m not doing more. I agree with her. And so, this coming out of the writer’s closet has been…moving. And I think it’s something I needed…and didn’t know I needed. Oy.

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~ by Darren Endymion on May 19, 2016.

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