The papers sit on the table as I lift my cup of tea. I have two more pages to print out: a title page and the last page marked with those two famous words, “The End.” I should feel excited. Yet the emptiness of the room has dulled my sense of satisfaction. No blaring trumpets proclaim the victory after I had put my thoughts through many weeks of mental anguish to create this manuscript. No tickertape parade will pass by my window to regal in a task well done. No prize will come in the mail for me to rip off the pretty paper and find movie tickets along with restaurant reservations for a festive celebration.
I take a sip of tea and look over at the phone. It does not ring. Why should it? I have very few people in my address book who would mutter a simple congratulation. I have very few places to drive to so I can show off my writing to everyone. I have very few relatives nearby who would want to see what I have created, especially after the hidden remarks I have heard from them when they discovered I was writing a story.
“What’s got into her fool head to do something like this? She can’t possibly be serious. This isn’t for real. She won’t get anything done. Michelle isn’t even typing on the computer. She is pretending to have it on. She is just playing computer games. She isn’t writing anything. What? The printer is on? No, she is wasting ink on something else. Michelle might have four pages done and is just printing them out over and over again. Editing? She is only reading, and how long does it take someone to read the same four pages in a stack of 200 papers? It’s nothing. She should stop the act.”
I place my cup down. Wouldn’t it be interesting to tell everyone about the happy news? Imagine the shock on their faces when I tell them. Imagine them . . .
Doing what? Would they apologize for not having faith in me? Would I hear their grumbles that all their assumptions were wrong? Is this the reason I wrote the story? Did my sole motivation dealt with wanting to drop the bundle of papers in their laps and say, “See what I can do! This doesn’t look like a computer game to me. This doesn’t look like the same four pages printed out 350 times. Only reading? Of course I had to READ the story. That is the purpose of creating one. Besides, I had to make sure the plot was solid. I had to make sure to edit and revise to the best of my abilities. You claimed it was nothing. That sure looks like a whole bunch of something in your lap. As for the act . . .”
I would be putting on an act. Gloating about all of this will be an act, and a very poor act for no one’s benefit. It will not change their minds about my writing. All this will do is give a boost to my ego by trying to make these people feel bad. Besides, they will simply find something else to demean me about, or worse. They will want to read the story with their minds already made up that it is horrible, because this will justify their previous remarks of believing that my writing is a worthless endeavor.
And this is not the reason I write. This is not the purpose of a story. They are meant to entertain. Stories make the reader enjoy the experience of turning the pages and sinking themselves into these fantasy worlds. Writing is supposed to make people happy, and I should be happy that I could finish a story. I should be happy that I can lift up each page many times and enjoy what I have written. I had to prove my writing abilities to only one person: Me.
I place my cup down and pick up the papers. I hug my story close, place a smile on my face, and murmur. “You have done a good job, Michelle. You have done a good job.”
Although I had finished the manuscript back in October, it took me a little time to calm my emotions to write this. I guess we all need time to understand ourselves.