Nope. Not one. And you wanna know why?
Granted, the time with my unbelievably awesome new friends with the National Writing Project made sharing much easier. But I'm not sure even they understood how gargantuan a thing it was for me to share with them.
The first time I read something I had written, I could feel my heart beating in my eyeballs, for Pete's sake. My. Eyeballs. I lost my breath a couple times and had to stop reading. Okay, I know, I'm just more than a little insanely freaked out about talking in front of people and even moreso when it comes to talking about something so personal as words I've strung together into some semblance of a poem or story.
In fact, reading to my NWP peeps was the first time in all of my odd little adventures through adulthood that I had ever read my work to a group of adults. Kids? No sweat. My classroom is a completely different story (harhar). I can write down just about anything and they're ooh'ing and ahh'ing as if I just completed a Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece. And we have fun. We play with words, we're all learning together, I tell them. I make it a point to create an environment where risk-taking is looked forward to, because we're learning. We're growing.
But outside the eternal experimental playground that is my classroom? No dice. I've just never been very good at opening up and letting people see what's on the inside.
A few writerly friends have seen the things I deem worthy of sharing, mostly pieces that have zero autobiographical influence. This was much easier when I wrote nothing but fantasy. It's hard for people to pick out the veins of your own life that color a story when it's smothered in fairies and magic and folk song. But the personal stuff? The --I just bled my heart onto this paper and it's full of demons and disasters so please respond KINDLY, Dear Lord, whatever you do, or I may have an aneurism and die right here in front of you-- that stuff? Yeah. That doesn't typically make it to anyone else. Safer to keep the boogey man tucked away from innocent eyes.
There is one exception to this rule: The Husband. I have no idea how I lucked out in this department, but this man knows me inside out and upside down and somehow, he still adores me. I absolutely don't deserve it, he's much better at the whole marriage thing than I could ever dream to be, yet I keep working at it, thinking that eventually I'll somehow be able to show him how much he means to me. And since he knows me, and isn't (hugely) freaked out by all my fun little neurotic issues, he is the one person in the world I can trust, no questions asked.
So he gets to hear (lucky him!) all the writing that I would typically save for myself. The crazy, wound-up, gut-wrenching, painful stuff. The hopeful, romantic, dreamy, mushy stuff. And everything in between.
You'd really think he'd stop responding so well in hopes that maybe I'd stop reading to him so constantly.
But each time, he listens, he advices, he laughs (and sometimes, I actually catch him a little teary eyed -- we're just going to pretend that it's from great emotional response and not bad writing), and most of all, he inspires. He motivates. He pushes me to keep going, to keep trying, to just get it all out on paper.
I've never had that before. A champion. Someone in my court, no matter what, come what may, all in, no looking back.
So pardon me if I gush. Forgive me for my sentimentality. Excuse, if just this once, that I'm all googly eyed and giggly.
Because everyone should be this fortunate. Everyone should have someone that will stand right next to them, pick out all the thorns, rub away the pain, and nudge them to keep moving forward.
I hope you do. You deserve it.