Yesterday I heaped praise upon my friend who writes the blog Lemon Gloria. She doesn’t know that because I haven’t actually told anyone about this blog.
Still, she wrote about me in her Wednesday entry and told her readers (she has readers) that I am a “very good writer.”
It made my heart sink.
First of all, I never really react well to praise. I am convinced that I will only let the person down the next time.
Now I'm afraid to write her even the simplest email.
What if it doesn’t measure up?
Let’s say I want to give her a heads up that I’m going to be in her city. If I don’t state it elegantly, then I’m eating alone.
Next time she asks me to tell her about my day, I’ll have to pen a new Ulysses.
Second, what does it mean to be a “very good writer?”
I use proper grammar and punctuation (most of the time, I have problems with too many commas). I think I do a good job of picking the write words and conveying emotion.
But I really don’t have a good imagination. Let’s just pretend for a moment that my technical skills were as good as Capote’s. Is that even half of the art?
He still thought up Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Other Voices, Other Rooms and Music For Chameleons.
My best attempts at fiction apparently aren’t all that clever.
A few years ago I started to work on a novel. It was about a super-cool, smart, heroic television producer who saved his big city from the reign of crime.
The one similarity with me was the television producer part. “Fictional-producer” was the most popular man in town, the women followed him home. Lots of women followed him home. He always let them in.
At the same time, “nonfictional-producer,” me, was dating a woman who went a little crazy. One day while I was at work, she decided to read everything on my computer. No email, Excel spreadsheet, Quicken account or Word document escaped her scrutiny.
The Quicken data should have been enough, but it seems the tales of my hero producer are what sent her over the edge.
She was outraged that I had been running around on her and waking up next to strange models morning after morning. Somehow, the part where I captured a serial killer didn’t set off any truth alarms.
When I told her it was my attempt at writing a book, she laughed, and threw wine in my face. Then she laughed some more.
There was no way I could have made up all that stuff.
I’ve never been sure whether that was a compliment or not.