My marathon split-personality life is wrapping up. In the evening this post goes up we will have the Last Last BBQ at the Byrdhouse, an Open House to Close the House on our last full weekend before things start to get packed up. It was a long week, and after leaving work early because I felt ill and still had a 5 hour drive I finally arrived home to empty the mailbox and get the newspapers. Checking the email I haven't been able to look out while driving I got a notice that on the 11th of May an excerpt from my allegory is being posted for peer critique and review.
Anyone who stumbles upon The Hole on the End of the Bible Belt can read what I write. Anyone who subscribes by RSS Feed or email can download a copy of my allegory (if I fixed the page finally), and yet my heart began to race and I got nervous at the thought of my work being posted on someone else's website. I am simultaneously happy, nervous, and scared. I have read, critiqued, and enjoyed other's exerts on Suzannah's Write It Sideways blog for quite some time now. But this is my work. This will be a critique of what I wrote.
Hastily I read the preview post she sent. Why did I choose this excerpt? It says some stupid things about the South. It may not be clear that this takes place in Louisiana. It may not need to be clear from this exert that it is in Louisiana. No one will know who Joel is. No one will know that Joel O. is a television preacher who writes books that makes people feel good. No one will know that he is my Jonah character, that he is the antagonist of the whole novella. While I made it clear that the work is an allegory, I didn't say what it was an allegory of. Who will know this is the point where Jonah has gone to watch the destruction of Nineveh, or when Joel has gone to watch the destruction of New Ixeveh? Why, why, why?
Then it hit me. It doesn't matter what the readers know or not. Either they will want to read more or they won't. Either the exert stands on its own or it doesn't. I write because I can't not write. I write as a release, I write because I have to. I want others to read it. I want others to want to read it. I want others to get what I write. I want others to slap their foreheads and say, "Wow!" But I don't write for that. I write for me.
My exert is posted so that I can see if my work is good enough for others. It is there so that I can find out if anyone would want to read my work. I'll still write if no one reviews it.
I hope that some of you go to Suzannah's website from here. Even if you don't offer a critique. It is a great blog and one I have enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) following. If anyone from Write It Sideways came to my blog because of the post, welcome. I hope you enjoy what I write. I hope you will subscribe to get a copy of the full novella length allegory of the book of Jonah.
And my next post will get back to my more familiar subjects with a Byrdmouse twist.
For inspiration while typing this post I was listening to this song on repeat. What a song. What a songwriter. What a performance.
Update: I think exert was Freudian.