I’m a private person, most of the time. I was never a part of that outgoing flock of giggling girls, although we usually got along just fine. And don’t think I was the quiet one in the corner, either. I was loud enough. Popular enough. Outgoing enough.
But I was guarded.
I’m more guarded, now. Back then, we were old enough that we knew not everybody gets to be an astronaut when they grow up. And we were certainly old enough that President of the United States was starting to look like a pipe dream. But writer… that was still on the table, wasn’t it?
So, time goes by. And right now, I’m not sure any of the people around me have dreams for themselves, anymore. Not dreams they’re actively working on, anyway. They might believe their kid can still be a writer… but them?
So, aside from me, and that one boy who actually did grow up to be a rock star, people traded in their dreams. And let’s be honest, I’m still working on mine. Not there, yet.
But I believe. And I keep working.
And I know there are people out there who are rooting for me. People who believe in me, or in my work, or in the creative spirit. People who haven’t given up on their own dreams. Sorting those people out online is pretty easy. If somebody doesn’t believe in me, the internet’s a big place. They move on quickly.
Real life is tougher. There’s no moving on. People are too packed together. Too weighted down to move on. By geography or chance, we’re stuck with each other. And there’s a certain amount of diplomacy that goes with that. Of course, I’m interested in your kid’s volleyball tournament. That’s the one with the…uhm.. net, isn’t it? A little bit of small talk can go a long way.
And then, there’s the not-so-small talk. I’m writing a novel.
I’ve said that, from time to time. And, most of the time, the response is a little like what you’d expect, if you told someone you were the Easter Bunny. Smile. Nod. I don’t really believe you, and I certainly don’t expect you to be any good at hopping.
I’m writing a novel.
If I told a near stranger I had kids, their next response would not be, So when do I get to babysit? And if I did, by some chance, mention that I had more than one kid, they would certainly not tell me that I should raise the first one before I start in on the next.
I think most of them want to be supportive, but they don’t know how. And I don’t know how to teach them. No, this isn’t my first novel. Or my second… or… well, you get it.
And maybe some of them really do enjoy giving me a rough time.
I don’t invite a lot of real-life people to my creative space. As of right now… a very small number. I can count on one hand. And I’m fairly sure that none of them have ever shown up.
How do you sort out the people you want in your creative space?