People ask, "What have you been doing this summer?"
And when I respond, "Working on a manuscript," no one says a thing, and we immediately move on to other topics and later I wonder if I actually mentioned it or just imagined it.
Is it the rather awkward way I say it or is there something inherently embarrassing about working on a manuscript? Is it something about Wisconsin, or more universal?
Is it something about the act of expression or something about commenting on your own creative endeavors that is off-putting?
Why in a culture that celebrates artists who aggressively promote their work, is it seen as unseemly and self-indulgent to do so?
Or is it just me?
Is it that no one knows what to say? I might ask:
What kind of manuscript?
Is it your first?
Tell me about it.
Perhaps knowing my work, they feel embarrassed for me, like the people who walked by while I was playing banjo to one sleeping bum in the parklet.
Why will a blog post get zero likes, but a photo of a cat get dozens?
So when people ask about what I've been up to this summer, rather than mention the manuscript, I answer, "Painting the house," which is much easier to talk about.
The whole thing?
Ever done that before?
Ever consider siding?