Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am Not Who I Am

A question was posed among the L13s: When and how do you tell people you're a writer? For me, the answer was easy. I don't.

I mean, I am a writer. Yet, I rarely cop to it. I've been publishing fiction for nearly a decade. Have won awards, done press, been the special guest at literary events. But, if you're not paying attention to my Facebook Fan Page (all new LIKES are appreciated), my Twitter profile, or this blog, you may not know I'm a working scribe. Why? One word...


Let me take you back in time a bit. It was 2006, I'd just sold another short story to an ongoing anthology series, and won a fiction fellowship from the Virginia Commission of the Arts. It was a good writing year. I also had a day job (I still have a day job, which plays a factor in my silence).

Many of my colleagues knew about my extra-curricular activities, and most were encouraging. One particularly supportive co-worker discovered a free crime story on my website and decided to download it (with no prompting from me, mind you), and printed it on one of the company's printers. Unfortunately, she got sidetracked and forgot to pick it up in a prompt manner. Enter King of the Douchebags.

King-D (he has a real name, but he doesn't really deserve it) picks up the story, reads it, carefully flags all five curse words with little neon sticky tabs like he's marking notes for his history final, and tells his boss I'm using company resources to further my writing career and spread "smut". If you're familiar with your corporate handbook, you realize this could be grounds for termination.

King-D did not realize that there were rebels in his douchy regime. His boss happened to be a fan of my work. I was pulled aside and warned--even though I'd done nothing wrong--to keep 'the writing thing' to myself.

It was then that I became acutely aware of a sad fact of life. Whenever you have a modicum of success in something that you enjoy, mean and bitter people will try to bring you down. In other words, haters gonna hate.

While King-D's plan to get me exiled from the office failed, he succeeded in educating me. My life is divided. There's my day job...then everything else. And after that horrible experience, never the two shall meet.

One day, I will be free to admit who I really am--a writer--without the fear of office persecution. When that day comes, I'm gonna shout it from the rooftops.

Also, I'm going to send King-D an autographed copy. He might need something to read on his smoke breaks.


Lamar "L. R." Giles is the author of FAKE ID, coming from HarperCollins in 2014. He resides in Virginia with his wife and is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Find out more on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. Love this, Lamar. King-D will rue the day! [Insert creepy laugh.]

  2. Great post, Lamar! I hope you can shout it from the rooftops sometime soon. :)

  3. It's such a shame when that kind of thing happens. My current job is the first where everyone knows I'm a writer--that's actually my job title, and they've all been supportive of my other writing career. Many of my co-workers even bought my book, which is the benefit of having fans in the workplace. But at my last job, the company tried to claim that everything I wrote belonged to them, which was much less than ideal. I guess it depends on where you work and who you work with.

  4. Thanks EliSabeth and EliZabeth. :)
    @Lydia - It's such an elegant word.
    @E.C. - Whoa...your job tried to claim that your writing belonged to the company? That's insane. I'm glad you got out of there.