Maybe Not What You Thought

Maybe I’m not as neurotic as I think I am. I like to think I exaggerate. That is what writers do, right?

Anyway, my bosses bought some of my art and put it up in the school. This semester I happen not to have any classes in that corner of the school, but it is near the vending machine and the back entrance.

I pretend it isn’t there.

Yes, I am flattered, flattered, flattered they bought the piece. (One of my favorite lines spoken by Judi Dench, “Perhaps we should retire to a home for the flattered.) But. People come up to me and say, “Hey! I saw your art!” or “Did you see they have your art on the wall?” And now the introduce me to people with, “This is one of our teachers. She’s also an artist.” And about here someone chimes in with, “And a writer!” And then, “We have her work right over there. We’ll show it to you.”

And I stand there trying not to look mortified, say “Thank you” or “Yes” or whatever is polite and I follow that with something like, “Um, I can’t get the printer to work.”

Sometimes getting what you want is just weird. One of these days I’m going to have the classroom with the window that will let me see it while I’m teaching.

Luckily, I’m good at pretending I don’t see things.

Why, for the love of the gods of common sense, would anyone work hard to put their work out into the world, go through a lot of trouble (you’ve no idea) to show that work and sell it, and then have to fight the impulse to hide?

I imagine that if I should ever manage to have a book with my name on the cover in a bookstore, I shall stand next to the shelf filled with great happiness and a desire to throw up.

Are you going to tell me I’m alone in this?

Are you ever contradictory?

Oh well. I’ve written my shortest short story ever. But at least story 26 is done! Hurray for Story-a-Day!

8 thoughts on “Maybe Not What You Thought

  1. Contradictory? Oh yes! I’m full of contradictions. Congratulations on having your work on display and on almost completing the month! I’m not going to complete my novel-writing challenge in time, but I don’t regard that as a failure.

    1. You’re not a failure. So, do you have a story you’re going to keep working on? That would be great.

      And glad to hear you’re full of contradictions too.

  2. Maybe it’s because it takes a long time to believe that you’ve really reached your goal. I always start to feel like an imposter, as if people will see right through my attempts to call myself a designer or a writer. I always think they’re viewing my efforts and secretly thinking ‘amateur’.

    1. Oh, I think that impostor thought all the time. And then when someone really asks about my work, I stumble because I’m not prepared…after all, no one was supposed to take me seriously.


  3. I do the same thing, always. Any compliment, I contradict in my head or feel painfully uncomfortable accepting. Because who am I? There’s tons of people better at everything I do….

    1. I tell my students that while they’re comparing themselves to the students higher up the ladder, they need to remember that there are more students coming up behind them–and those students are comparing themselves to them.

      That sentence has too many pronouns in it, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say. I know there are tons of people better than me at everything I do, but that doesn’t make me bad at those things. And only I can do things my way.

      Same for you. Only you can bring your vision to what you do. That’s why you’ve got to do it.

  4. I’m not going to tell you you’re alone. But I’m not going to say I feel that way also. I have a keen and overpowering sense of triumph when I’m acknowledged for my work and for being reckoned as I want by others free of prompting. That is, when others say I’m a writer and it’s not because I had to tell them, that would be a great day.

    Still, have a happy weekend and see you on the other side.

    1. Darc, you’re not as neurotic as I am! Which is good. I also think women suffer from this more than men. Not all women. And not all men are neurotic free, but mostly, men seem to accept compliments and acknowledgment better. At least as far as I usually see.

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