Here is a photo of me doing a reading from my novel, San Jose Post Bubble Dating Blues at the Nanowrimo wrap up party. It still has not sunk in that I have written a novel. I should be really happy about it, but I am a little discouraged. It was hard to write and it did not turn out like I would have liked.
I am on a real see-saw about my novel. I go from liking it to not linking it and back to liking it. It is funny. I really happy with it when I selected the excerpts to read one the ones to post on the walls for everyone to read. Seeing these things on the page made me think I had come up with something funny.
I felt different once I started to do my reading. The excerpt had no flow to it. It was really hard to read. The comedy beat were very awkward. People laughed, but I stomped on some of the jokes.
After I read, a couple came up to me said that they really liked it. When the people I knew said this, I thought they were just being nice. They might have liked it, but I am thought it was in that 'one of my friends wrote that' way and not in the 'that is really good' way.
I should say now that I am very hard on things. I will not tell people I liked something if I did not like it. If they ask me what I think, I am truthful and honest. I have friends that like this. I am not afraid to hurt feelings because they are not their artwork. If you ask me what I think about your art, you have to be ready.
Taking that into account, it took more then a few positive comments before I really relaxed. On top there were a couple people that I did not know that made the point to walk over to me and say how much they liked it. The first two were attractive, young, women. My first reaction is that they must be making fun of me.
I guess there is part of me that is stuck back in jr. high; still that special ed kid who watched the girls make a fool out of Mike. He thought all the girls like him while they all just made fun of him. I know people had made fun of me the same way and it is the worst. So I go through the world waiting for people to do it to me.
After a little while, I learned to relax and take the compliments at face value. I hope they really did like what I wrote. It took someone telling me something specific before I could enjoy it. I guess there are a few issues here I should work on.
Other then my own anxieties the party was great. It was cool to see all these people I have been writing with have a good time. It was cool that all these people had done a Nano novel. I even danced to one song before I left. In the end, I had a great time writing the novel and going to the party. I plan on doing this again next year.
Here is the excerpt I am reading in the picture. Tell me what you think.
Chapter 1: June
I decided on my 30th birthday that I was going to go on three dates before I turned 31. I know that this sounds like a modest goal to most people. As a signal guy at the age of 30 it should not be hard to find dates. I am at the age where I can still date women who are just out of college. I could date women who are a little older then me. There should be a lot of woman I can choose from. There seems to be little reason for me to make that kind of goal. These ideas are like looking at my life with out seeing me.
I picked the number three because it is one more then the total number of dates that I have had in the four years since I moved to Silicon Valley. Neither of those dates were anything to be proud about. Some people would doubt that they were dates at all. Neither led me to a second date.
That is one of the things about Silicon Valley. It is a place where you can bury yourself in work and forget about the rest of the world. Work is the Holy Grail here and everything else is just a relic. You can tell yourself that work is really important. You can tell yourself that your project/product/web site/invention/company will change the world and make you rich. There are plenty of other people to tell you the same thing also. It is easy to get sucked into that ‘my job really is my life’ world.
Back in the dot.com gold rush days, back when everyone had stock options sugar plum fairies dancing in their head, the rules were a little different. Now that the lean times have hit and the bubble has burst, it is a little harder to bury yourself in work. We are all working hard to keep our companies alive, but spouses are not as forgiving.
Once, during the million dollar days, I was stuck in an office while the vice president of my division and his wife fought about how much he was working. They were standing right outside of the office we were working in. When I was ready to leave, they were still out there fighting. My manager, who reported directly to the vice president, told me it was better for us to just stay in the office and not interrupt them. He said that the wife would be embarrassed if she knew we knew what was happening. That would make it that much harder for the VP to patch things up.
For the next three hours we sat in the office. We tried to do work, write e-mail, read web sites, and distract ourselves. Most of them time we were just eavesdropping on the fight. We were listening to the vice president and his wife fight about how late he was coming home every night, how much the kids missed him, how he was not there to help with their homework. She was worried that he was setting a bad example for the kids.
The vice president countered with how she wanted him to be successful. She had told him when they were dating how important personal achievement was to her. She had pushed him so he could become a manager, a director, and currently a vice president. She wanted what he was achieving as much as he wanted it.
This went back and fourth for a long time. I learned more about my vice president that night then I ever knew about a boss in my life. You really do not want to know the vice presidents pet names for his wife (honey toes, ruby okasa, and silver hentai.) You do not want to know how often your vice president is having sex (three times a week before starting with the this company and twice a month after starting here.) You do not want to know what the vice presidents mother-in-law thinks of his companyÂ’s business model (it is too heavily dependent on ad revenue that no one is sure will be there in the long term.)
The only good thing about this was that I was an hourly employee at the time. Since my boss was stuck inside of there with me, I knew he would sign my time card. It was time and a half to listen to all of my vice presidents problems. Even if his wife did not know we were in that office, he knew. Two days later our department got the speech from him about how important the work/life balance is. If you go too far to one side you can be very unhappy.
He did not know that I saw him and his wife in the copy room two nights later having makeup sex. I got to find out why she was called honey toes. I wonder if the vice president will be honest with his son when asked where he was conceived. I know that I will be keeping that one to myself.
The copy room was a popular place in the dot.com boom for some of my co-workers to have sex. It was the top place on the scavenger hunt sex in the office map, but I will address more of that later. Needless to say, I always wiped off the top of the copier before I used it. I can also say that the latex gloves were just not for handling the old toner cartages.