"Stuff," I mumbled and hastened away.
Now anyone who knows me, even casually, knows I consider myself a writer. However, I seldom let anyone read my work other than my wife and other writers. Or editors. I just don't. I guess it's that I feel they will read my work out of courtesy and respond politely rather than honestly.
I hate talking about my writing with people who aren't writers. Why? First, because most people who aren't writers really don't care. And second, there is nothing more pathetic than a would-be writer babbling about his work. You know the type? He goes on and on about plot, all the while becoming more excited as he revels in his exaggerated self-concept.
A writer should write, not talk. Give the reader your work and walk away. Bang. That's it.
Want another reason why I don't tell people I write?
Me: I just sent a story out.
Uncle Gregor: You write? Ah. You should write about me. I can tell you things about my life that would really make a great book.
Me: That's great, Uncle Gregor. Thanks anyway.
Uncle Gregor: Maybe I'll write it. Maybe I'll write an autobiography. I'll start at the first day I went to work at the sausage factory and follow my climb to General Manager. It's a great story.
Me: Isn't that Aunt Shirley over there? She's not looking well. Maybe I should go and check.....
I've discovered over the last few years that there are a lot of writers who feel as I do. As I've had a chance to talk with people in different writers' groups, they too seldom share their work with family and friends. It's astonishing how few even allow their spouse or partners to read their work. Fortunately, I don't have that problem any longer. I married a woman who reads my stuff, comments intelligently, and actually helps me. She's even been working to help me find an agent. My ex-wife never read my writing, mutual agreement. I used to swear the dedication to my first novel would be:
"To my wife...who will have to buy this book at the store in order to read it."