Don’t Hate Me Just Because I Write · 13 February 2010

One of my friends asserted that he will not be standing on one foot to tie his shoes. Then he continued in as threatening a voice as a teddy bear can manage, “But if my wife makes me start, I am going to find you!” At first, I did not realize what he was talking about. When he mentioned his wife, I realized that they had read my piece called Balance. I know that Mike and his wife, Sara, are faithful readers, but it still makes me feel a little odd that people read my stuff.

In the life of this writer, it has always been easier thinking that I only have imaginary readers. I can then just write what I want without pressure that anybody is reading even one word. Of course, I know that at least a couple family members and a few friends like Mike and Sara read my column. One of my sisters-in-law told me that she likes what I write and even my writing style. And every once in a while, when my writing makes it into the local paper in the community where I work, I hear from co-workers or students that they liked what I wrote. Still, it is a bit disconcerting when I hear from a friend who is a fan. I like it, but I still get a little embarrassed.

It is even more than disconcerting when somebody like Mike threatens me because of something I wrote. Sure, he is kidding (a little), but it still makes me a bit uneasy that somebody might actually do something more than just enjoy my writing. I want to say, “Don’t hate me for writing what you do not want to hear,” or “Don’t hate me just because I write.”

(Actually, I have never thought those words. I just made that part up to fit this column and to respond to my friend Mike. Who does not hate me because I write. He hates me for more legitimate reasons than because I write. He hates me because I say and do things that challenge him. Or that encourage his wife to challenge him.)

I suppose that the longer I write, the more fan and hate mail I will receive. That is the other nice thing about imaginary readers. They do not criticize what I say or how I say it. It is also a drawback because I do appreciate feedback from real readers. I like to hear both the good and the bad about what and how I write. I like to know that I wrote something that made people laugh, cry, or think. After all, those are the reasons I write and it is nice to know when I have done my job.

Which brings me back to my friend Mike. While I do not expect that he will be standing on one foot to tie his shoes any time soon, I do expect he and his wife to continue visiting my website and reading my stuff.

For the record, Mike does not really hate me because I write. He just hates me because his wife reads what I write. Get ready to stand on one foot, Mike.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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