Sunday, January 23, 2011

How I failed Mrs. Manning

Mrs. Manning was my Kindergarten teacher. I still remember her as one of my favorites. She taught me many things like the alphabet, the planets and different methods of counting. We studied Hawaii, teddy bears, outer space, and every color in the rainbow. She taught her students to play well with others and to be polite. Like a good student I absorbed all of this. There was one thing that she could never teach me, no matter how hard she tried. This is where I really failed her.

I can not share.

This is true in so many ways but the most important way for this blog is that I've never been able to share my writing with others. I loved talking about what I was writing and even asking for advice when I encountered certain problems along the way. The real issues with my sharing came when others wanted to read what I had created. Most of my close friends were never allowed this opportunity. The few who did get to read my stories were select teachers and a few friends who had to pry it out of my grasp while I begged to have it back.

Most of this was for selfish reasons. Books we want to read often sound better in our head than when it is discovered on the page. I loved that sometimes my friends' impressions of my books were better than the actual book. In their minds my writing had no typos, no huge editing flaws, and gaps in the story could be filled in as I went. I'm great at creating captivating tales around the campfire and was the designated ghost story creator for sleepover parties. I was born to be an oral story teller but I live in a time of writing. Fears about my own flaws have prevented me from doing what every great author does, share. Perhaps Emily Dickinson would have understood my need to hide this part of my life away from all but a select few.

On Friday night I posted the cover of the first book that I will be releasing to the world. I had a wonderful outpouring of excitement and support from friends and family. All of them were looking for excerpts or blurbs, any little bit that they could get their hands on. They all seemed to think that it would be wonderful.

My first instinct was to go back into hiding again, forever. Why should I crush their expectations by showing them what I actually write? Could I ever live up to the genius that some might expect? Imagine stage fright so crippling that you can't breath. I finally calmed myself by remembering that everyone has their own insecurities to overcome. I wondered how many other writers have hidden or destroyed their works because they didn't have to guts to show it to someone else.

I don't fear having someone tell me that they didn't like it. I was in debate for four years, I can handle criticism and rejection. What I really fear is sharing. It's like a severe phobia that can be laughed at until the moment comes when you are faced with it. Then it is very real and very frightening.

I had so much fun writing Reluctantly in Love and I am looking forward to sharing it with others. If anyone has even a tenth as much fun reading it as I did creating then it will be worth all of the nerves that it takes me to release it.

Mrs. Manning I promise that I will learn to share. One day I may even like doing it.


  1. Cleverly written...and you're showing off your young age by remembering the name of your kindergarten teacher.

  2. Thanks Steve. I had a really hard time trying to convey the situation. As for my age, I may forget a lot of my teachers names but I doubt that I will forget hers. Mrs. Manning really was the kind of teacher that you can't help remembering. We had so much fun in her class and I am lucky enough to have a few very clear memories about that time in my life.