Location, Location, Location


I enjoy the hell out of the people on my blogroll. They’ve made me laugh, cry, and say “Oooh, yuck!’ Sometimes all in the same post. I’m lucky enough to know a couple of them in real life. Like Michael, who’s the author of “Always going, going, going on beyond.”


I met Michael in a writing class. The class was a last minute decision; the instructor I really wanted wasn’t teaching until the spring, so I settled on a class with her boyfriend. (That word seems so insufficient for people over 40. Can someone come up with something better? “Partner” has gay connotations (which is OK if you’re gay, misleading if you’re not), “lover” is just…weird.)  Settled is probably the wrong word:  he’s a great teacher, and his classes are wonderful.


I always try to get to a new class early, and head straight for the back row. Not for the same reasons I did in high school. When you’re actually paying to learn, passing notes and giggling aren’t really part of the equation. As a “grown up”, I sit there to avoid notice. Because here’s the thing: I feel like an impostor. It’s easy enough to think you’re a writer when all you do is plunk away at your laptop in your safe, warm, non-judgmental living room. But when you’re under stark fluorescents in an adult-ed classroom, it’s harder to fool yourself. I’m immediately convinced that everyone there: a) has more talent on the bottom of their shoe than I do, and b) thinks I/my writing suck out loud.


I was late. I ended up in the front row. Way out of my element. The first real exercise the instructor had us do was to think of a room from childhood, and write a list of words to go with it. People read their lists aloud. The instructor asked me for mine, I read my words.


“What do these lists have in common?” The instructor looked around, waiting for someone to answer.


“They’re all pretty bland.” Oh christ, here we go again, I thought. I didn’t know who this guy was. But I was convinced he was going to be the younger, non-British version of an insufferable pompous twit in the last writing class I’d taken. Pompous British Guy was so convinced of his own talents that he came to class just to tear others down. (When one woman read her short story, he told her it ‘read like an especially dry real estate listing’. To her credit, she didn’t let any of the tears actually fall. But she never came back, either.) And this guy was going to criticize others on the first day?


But the thing was, this guy was right. I had been thinking the same. I just didn’t have the grapes to say it.


The next week, I did get there early. And I completely broke pattern and sat next to the guy who criticized. Still not sure why. We had ample fodder for small talk; we’re both married, both have kids. We both raised our eyebrows/rolled our eyes at the same annoying people in class.  And after the first real assignment, I realized he wrote the way I want to when I grow up.


I’m sure people who click on my link from his blog think there’s been a mistake. He’s a Buddhist. He writes beautifully, sometimes seriously, thoughtfully. I swear and make bathroom jokes. Whatever. I like his writing, and he’s gracious enough to find good things in mine. I’m happy I sat by him.


Go visit his blog. I like his photos almost as much as his words. (Check out the picture “Energy to Burn” in this post.) And for heaven’s sakes, comment. Lurkers are creepy.




13 responses to “Location, Location, Location

  1. One must lurk before one comments. Only time can define creepyosity, and even then, only the lurker knows the truth. 😐

  2. Thanks for the link. I will spend some time checking him out.

    And I feel you about writing classes. I’ve had my share, being an English/Creative Writing major at almost 40. I wish I had the talent of some of these kids when I was their age.

    No bother. I’m developing and writing better and having fun. Which is the point . . .

  3. Peter: You lead a rich inner life, don’t you? One day, I’ll be at a comic book store, and there it’ll be: Vol. 1, Issue 1 of “The Lurker.”

    Brian: Re: the kids. Talent, yes. Perspective, not always.

  4. “Pompous British guy?” That about pegs me. Those loose lips have been getting me in trouble at work lately. I’m going to my next meeting with my yappers pressed firmly together. My arms will be crossed and I’ll nod in agreement to whatever my superiors have to say. Maybe offer an affirming, but noncommittal “mm-hmm.”

    I’m really really really glad you sat beside me. Now we can watch each other become happy artists (knock on wood).


  5. Pompous British Guy: a) was always wrong, and b) couldn’t write. You have nothing in common. I have a feeling you should probably keep speaking up.

  6. What a great story! And yeah dude, lurkers are creepy. I’ve also seen a few commenters here and there who get like, really involved and such, and become regulars, but they don’t have a blog. Am I the only one who finds that creepy too? Quid Pro Quo and etc.

  7. Peter put great perspective on the lurker issue for me. (See above). He is both wise, and learned. Not what one would expect from a dude in red tights.

  8. I’ll have you know I’ve been here…


    Since my last comment. :mrgreen:

    I hope that doesn’t creep you out too much. 😉 I guess being an out of the closet lurker just doesn’t carry the same weight.

    I’m gonna go start a new blog and profile, and then the real lurking will begin. I hope my telling you this hasn’t ruined the whole creepy lurker factor, thereby defeating the purpose of my creating the new blog/profile. Dang it. 😕

    Maybe I should just give up on this whole lucking thing and focus more of my creative energy on the comic book, “The Lurker!”. 😛

  9. I want to go to a writing class. 😦
    I’m a lurker. I’m always lurking. Everywhere.

  10. Lurking… Well that’s kind of the point. If you wish to be a writer, you must find a way to touch people (lurkers) that you will never know.

    As to the over 40 set, like me, “my lady”, or “my gentleman” works well. It provides a sense of both an honorific and intimacy.

  11. Allen: I probably should have expressed it more effectively, but the “lurking” bit was said with tongue most firmly in cheek. I’m a NOTORIOUS lurker.

    My lady. Hmm. Doesn’t give me the “no” feeling. Cool.

  12. Ginny, keep writing, you’re quite good.

  13. You’re very kind, Allen.

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