Why didn't you know!?!

Submitted into Contest #46 in response to: Write a story about an author who has just published a book.... view prompt

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General

They didn't even know I was writing a book. Really? So when I got an agent and was finally published, it came as a surprise to most of my friends. I feel like they didn't even know me. That feeling was very familiar. I remember when I attended my older brother's graduation. Now, this is going to sound really bad when I say this. He'd earned is Bachelors in something, I don't even remember anymore. Heh.  Geez. He was a late bloomer and hadn't even planned to use his degree for anything. He already had a reasonably successful restaurant. He was respected in the community and on neighborhood business councils and stuff like that so he didn't need, his Bachelor's degree, but he earned it and we all trudged down to the commencement to cheer him on and slap him on the back for a job well done. Dad never got his degree neither did my sister or other brother. When you're doing something to earn a living and doing okay with that something, who needs a degree? Unless you work for someone else and promotions depend on degrees. What a fucked up system we have. Skill matters more but so few pencil pushers at big companies see it that way. Anyway, so mom says, at the graduation, "this is so great," to my brother, "you're the first to get a degree!" My whole body collapsed. It did just now too, remembering all this. I had already earned my fucking Masters's degree! Really, was I that deeply estranged from my mother that she didn't know this? Wow. Listen you should know I have nothing against my mother. She's one of those people who is just like this. Treats me like a stranger. No idea why. I mean, really no idea why. Believe me, I've asked. We're not close yet I've tried. Dad always said, "you've gone the mile and then some on trying to get close to your mother, you've gone the mile." When I told her I was published her response was, "okay," said in that way a person says, okay? waiting for there to be a punchline or something. I know, I can't believe it either. But it's what I've come to expect from her so the expectation bar is below the sub-basement level. 

Ah well doesn't matter. I have friends that are like family. There are some friends though that don't ask what you do for a living. Odd trait but yes, I have friends like that. I love them anyway. You know, if you have a job, job, working for the man, who really cares what you do. I mean, what if they were blue-collar workers (and I'm not saying my friends are or aren't) like the guy with the flags who manages traffic flow around road construction (by the way, they make a decent living I hear). God, I sound so judgmental without intending to be, I get that from my mother. Why do I need to qualify what I'm saying to you? You've already formed opinions about me. I remember hearing an expression somewhere - what you think of me is none of my business. So true, but we do care anyway don't we. I do care. It does matter. Okay, where was I? It doesn't matter what a person does for a living, it's who they are as a person, that is what counts, right? So, okay, so say you work in a job that pays the bills. It's doesn't exactly define who you are, so your friends don't ask you about what you do with your days. Some have never asked what you do for a living. I actually think that's admirable in an odd way. Let's talk about something deeper. Mundane day to day stuff is so boring, isn't it?  Maybe they once knew what you do for work, but it doesn't come up in conversation so it's forgotten. Unless it becomes important later. Being an accomplice is serious stuff. Better to not know then be implicated. Alright, that is so unlikely to happen. We are so much more than what we do. Unless that is, our work has meaning to us personally or to our communities or the world. Like researching a cure for a virus that causes mass pandemics. Wow, tell me about what you do and how you find that cure! We all want to know. We all need to know. Don't be shy.

We are social beings and disconnection hurts our spirits on the inside. We may not even see the damage. It comes out in other ways. We want to know our friends care about us. We want to know our friends care about what we care about. So if I care that my friends know I am finally published, it matters, to me. Geez, are you following all this. My friends are telling me they don't give a darn about my success. Or so I tell myself. Mental health professionals call this thinking, potential danger to self, and others. It becomes a danger to others when I get really pissed off. I'm not really pissed off I'm just hurt.  

Am I so solitary and private that what I do all day, welding worlds, and psyches is viewed by my friends like the postal worker who does the same task with different pieces of paper every day? No one asks because there is nothing new to say. Hey, there is something new and it's really big news. I'm published suckers! Haha, that felt good. One of my early teachers said something I will never forget. She said, "show, don't tell." Meaning everyone is tired of hearing about the great American novel you are writing. Shut up and write it! Yeah, write every day. That's the golden ticket.  

I think part of the problem is the type of friends I have. Before I finished this very piece, a friend called. She was returning my message. I may have let slip in my voicemail to her that I published my first book. She sounded excited for me. She asked me to tell her about the story and where she could get the book to read it. I loved that she was thrilled for me, but I told her. "that's okay, it's a technical book about an obscure bacteria." I lied. Oh, my gosh, I'm the problem. My friends don't know about my work, not because I follow the show don't tell rule, but because I don't want them to really know what I write.  I'm not ashamed for myself. But I know they will feel shame for me and I want to protect them from the real me.  

My book is erotic and has a huge following among people I don't want to know personally. My friends are good Christians. Don't judge me, I judge myself plenty. But, hey, I'm published. At least I can tell you about it. I don't know you after all so I can bare my soul to you.  

June 13, 2020 04:01

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7 comments

Knycki Taylor
05:29 Jun 27, 2020

That ending got me. Thank you for that. I really enjoyed reading through her thought process.

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Loni Anderson
19:03 Jun 27, 2020

Ha ha, thanks. It's fun to step into a character that is totally different from who we are.

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Elle Clark
10:12 Jun 20, 2020

What an interesting train of thought! Your protagonist rambles a lot and loops back to the same themes and sentences fairly frequently that can make it tricky to read and follow at times but it builds a very clear view of their character! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Loni Anderson
15:52 Jun 21, 2020

Thanks for reading this. Yeah the character is pretty self absorbed and I couldn't resist making her a hypocrite. Ha it was fun to write.

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Elle Clark
16:03 Jun 21, 2020

I love writing people like that! Sometimes it’s fun to lose yourself in a character! If you’ve got time, would you mind having a read of one of mine?

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Emily Nghiem
03:43 Jun 25, 2020

I like this stream-of-consciousness narrative, and the colorful language and character you created that flow naturally. Although some editing is needed ("his bachelor's instead of "is Bachelors" / book about obscure bacteria [plural]), I wouldn't overdo or edit too much, but keep that RAW character who clearly doesn't give a FU about proper language. This is a very popular style of storytelling, so if you enjoy writing to this audience, you can definitely create your own niche in the market. As for the revelation, to keep it in character, I...

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Loni Anderson
01:29 Jun 27, 2020

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You are such a great writer. I love this platform for the opportunity to read other's work and receive critiques of my work. Again, thank you I appreciate you taking the time.

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