Thursday, June 21, 2012

Leading a double life

Sometimes I get weary of the double life I lead. There is the real me, who goes to work every day to earn the money that supports my family. I have a job with 12 people reporting to me and those people are counting on me to be there and help them. I have friends at work with whom I go for coffee and lunch— but I’m living a lie. Because all those people at work have no idea that I live a double life.

They have no idea that when I go home I spend evenings and weekends at the computer, writing stories, conducting all the “business” of writing, chatting to on-line friends. I’m sure they think I must be the most boring person in the world when they ask how my weekend was and I say, “It was okay”, because I can’t tell them I finished another manuscript or I heard back from my editor, or I had the most hilarious conversation with my blog partners.

I decided it was best to keep the two lives separate, for a variety of reasons. I enjoy my job (especially the seven weeks of paid vacation and every other Friday off, LOL!) and I try to do a good job. But sometimes it’s hard not to drift off into daydreams of story ideas while sitting in endless meetings. Sometimes it’s hard to resist peeking at my BlackBerry during the work day. Sometimes it’s hard not to be able to share my good news (I sold another book! I got a great review! I got an amazing royalty cheque this month!) with coworkers.

So far I have managed to keep the two lives mostly separate, but a while back someone told me that there are people at work who know about my writing. I don’t know how they knew, but the person who told me admitted that he’d Googled me to find out more. I told him I figured nobody would know my pen name so even if people found out, they wouldn’t be able to easily find out much more than that, but apparently I was wrong. At that point I decided I should tell my boss, just so it wasn’t a surprise to her if it got to be common knowledge

But weirdly, nothing more was ever said. Nobody has ever said another word to me and I have no idea if the whole company knows and just doesn’t want to say  anything, or only a few people know and kept it to themselves.

Maybe some day someone will say something. Or some day maybe I’ll have to “come out of the closet” if I want to promote a book. I both want that to happen and am terrified of it. It would make life simpler in some ways, but perhaps more complicated in others. It would allow me to share all the ups and downs of my writing but would attract attention that I’m not always comfortable with.

So for now I will continue to lead the lives of two people, even though in my heart I’m really just one.


Meg Benjamin said...

Oh man, I remember how that felt. Back when I was holding down a job in addition to writing, I was always on the fence about whether to tell my colleagues or keep it to myself. I only started telling people when I was getting ready to retire--at that point I figured it didn't matter anyway.

PG Forte said...

I think what would make me nuts is not knowing who knows or what they know. OTOH, the people who know are probably people who read the kinds of books you write, so it's probably all good. ;)

Kelly Jamieson said...

Meg, when I'm ready to retire I will tell the whole world!

And yeah PG it really does make me a bit nuts!