Two. Two friends. Two reads of the fledgling first chapter of the new work. Two sterling responses.
I loved the reactions. They were wonderful and generous. And they made me wonder.
I try not to force my work on friends. I try not to solicit a reading or a reaction unless I am asked. I don’t always succeed in that noble restraint. My bad.
What people do and say in the writer’s presence is likely different from their reactions when a reading is conducted in private. Their more politic, delicate, crafted thoughts may well be the result of the writer’s drooling into their laps.
I know that. I asked these two friends to read, anyway.
Needy, needy me.
Is there a puppyish, eager-hopeful look that I bring to the watching? Am I so desirous of favorable feedback that I force my expectations on an otherwise-innocent situation? Could anyone possibly react to such naked need with “This sucks—what do you’re think you’re doing?”
One wants to believe that a work is so persuasive, so compelling, that reading it will be irresistible. Welcome to the writer’s fantasy world. Why aren’t you reading? Why haven’t you finished? Don’t you know what it means, that you would?
One word. One word is all the desperate writer desires. That I have gotten more than one: That’s good. That I may have been sitting in the window of my personality, watching the friend as if I were a puppy in an animal shelter cage, aware that adoption is perhaps minutes away? That is unforgiveable. Even for me.
Sorry, my friends. And thank you, my friends. And why are you Facebooking when you could be reading? [Insert Smiley emoticon here.]