Cookies Vandalize Car

the graduation--1991
the graduation--1991

If J. reads this, the secret is out–finally after 18 years. JT and I arrived at J.’s graduation ceremony and we took our seats. Then we snuck out. We rushed to The Olive Garden and made a meal of salad and breadsticks. We got back in time to meet J. in the concourse of the stadium.

“Congratulations!” we said and hugged her.

“Thanks,” J. replied. “You must be hungry. They’ve got cookies over there.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” I said. “I don’t really want any cookies.”

J’s mom handed us some anyway. “I got a few extra,” she said. “I’m ready to go eat, aren’t you?”

We made our excuses and left, a mix of relief and guilt at not getting caught skipping out. But we still had the cookies. JT walked over to the nearest car and put her cookies on the car’s roof.

“Hey!” shouted a man behind us. “That’s my car!”

I don’t know why the man got so angry. What harm can a handful of oatmeal cookies do to a car?

Two things:

One. Having friends to support you as you venture out into the writing world is a great thing, but maybe they don’t support you in the way you want and recognize. Maybe they want to cheer you on but they also want their breadsticks. Do you always recognize support from others or might you expect too much? Of course, you might be giving some people too much credit. Does it matter if you want to be a writer? Would you write if your family and friends called you crazy and told you to quit? How many cheerleaders do you (any writer) need?

Two. Have you ever written something that you thought was innocent enough, only to get an unexpected reaction? And if you did make someone angry, what would you do? Shout back, pretend it didn’t happen, or throw away the work? If you make the effort to get the words down on the page and even published, then how sorry would you be?

5 thoughts on “Cookies Vandalize Car

  1. sherri

    My husband always finds clues in my work as to how I want other men. It’s very hard to let my muse run free when if a character sleeps with someone it’s apparently code for how I want to sleep with someone. I don’t think he thinks so anymore, but the trauma was done in the early years of our marriage, and it’s always in the back of my mind. I didn’t throw away the work, but the work suffered.

    To answer the first question, I need way fewer cheerleaders now than I did a few years ago. I’m confident in my ability and pretty good at assessing my own work. I have a couple of people who never seem to get tired of talking about it, and that seems to be enough now.

    I think most writers expect their cheerleaders to read every word they write, not only read it, but WANT to read it. I don’t expect that anymore, after being cheerleader for a very demanding and prolific unpublished author. I realize now that nobody will be interested in EVERYthing I write, and that’s okay. Now what I expect from my cheerleaders is honest discussion of the writing business, and a sounding board for my ideas.

  2. [Love this post’s title. It’s National Enquirer-worthy.]

    How many cheerleaders do I need? Just one, I think. A cheerleader I’ve never met, who convinces me that s/he knows writing, is in a position to help me write professionally, and continues to believe in me. Tall order much? 🙂

    (Of course, it would help if I were doing more, and more actively, to actually locate such a person!)

    I’ve never written anything innocent which triggered anger in someone, at least as far as I know, except in online form — where “misunderstandings” like this are almost too common to notice. (A lot of people put a chip on their shoulder before they go through the door to the Internet.)

    Part of my job requires me to field questions/complaints from citizens, which I forward to the appropriate staff in the city government. I once tried to answer a complaint myself, by explaining how we decide which work item takes priority, how we fund the various projects, and so on. It was one of the best responses I could imagine anyone writing — polite, thorough, and, y’know, helpful. Was astonished when the citizen took umbrage at my patronizing, condescending attitude, and cc’d both the City Manager and the entire City Commissioner in telling me so. Egad. Last time I’ll ever try that, no matter how convinced I am that I know the answer!

  3. I try to do my work without cheerleaders. it sounds awful. But I’ve always just muddled along the best way I could. I never really believed the cheerleaders, anyway. Or I did, but I didn’t think it meant that it was all going to come together.

    I think that’s my own issue about doing everything myself and thinking the “authorities” are some lofty unreachable gods. I’m sure it’s something I should get over.

  4. No cookies, no cheerleaders. That’s what I’ve learnt. The work’s the work. Once you’re published (and you will be), there will be cookies and cheerleaders all over the place. but you don’t need them now and you won’t need them then. You’re good – stick with it x

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