“I read your new story”, a friend says, and my stomach clenches, while I paste a smiling, interested look on my face. What will she say? The choices run the gamut, from “It was nice.” (the kiss of death), to “Well, I didn’t really understand all of it; you’re so clever.”, all the way through “Have you checked out the ads on Craigslist lately?”
The phrases that sounded so clever when I concocted them, may have landed on an understanding and receptive ear, or they may have sailed in one and right out the other. Worse she may say, “I read your new story”, and then segue to a different topic, leaving me hanging, wondering, pathetically insecure and totally unable to ask, “Did you like it?”
A much more likely occurrence is receiving a comment from a total stranger which makes me think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I meant!” When writer, story and reader connect, there’s that moment of pure bliss, where it’s like I’m doing what I’ve always been meant to do. I’ve received what I think of as “stranger compliments” of such delicacy and perception, that they fill me with pure exhilaration. Sometimes a reader’s words shine new light on my own.
More and more lately, my response to the casual “How are you?” would be: “I’ve got the (computer) keys to the kingdom; I’ve made a friend of and teamed with my dragon (I retain Creative Control; the dragon gets an Associate Producer credit); I’ve become quite comfortable out there on that limb; and I’m eager to carry on my quest!” The short answer of course would be, “I feel like I’m flying!”
Does any of this sound familiar? I think about writing as I’m going to sleep, and run story ideas in my head till I blink out for the night. I wake up and love my kitties and smile, as I think of the rendezvous that awaits me at the pressing of a few keys, specially if I have a draft I’ve been polishing that’s almost ready to go. Now and then, I power down the computer so I can get things done. Then I turn it on again, only to check one thing, and I’m gone, until the phone rings or my stomach growls or the cats get bored.
I’m so far past denial I don’t even try anymore. Resistance is Futile. Surrender seems the obvious choice. So I’m giving in to my Muse and I’ll see where it leads. Expect me when you see me.