Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I Am Not Who I Am
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.