Wake up, Polly Parrot.


Chronicles of the Garden Variety Writers -- Week #12

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My e-mailbox is suspiciously empty this week. I know the group is looking at this chronicle, and I can guess they are communicating with one another, but not with me. I am not sure what to expect for this week's meeting.

Most of the others are already there in the meeting room when I arrive. I can guess what they've been talking about.

"We've all seen your web page," Fabian says. "We're not all very happy about it."

There's not too much I can say in a moment like this. In my mind, I'm twelve years old again, in the principal's office, waiting to learn my punishment for getting caught at some stupid school prank. Please don't call my parents! Will this go on my permanent record, do you think?

"We'd like you to wait outside while we talk it over," Fabian says. Nodding in agreement are Pamela, Peter, Kasim, Hachi, Sapphire and Larry. Absent are Wilton, Nettie, Lewis and Caprice. There's also two other guys I've never seen before. New members? Some muscle to rough me up? Lawyers?

I'm tempted to try and listen in on the proceedings with my ear to the door, but I go upstairs and spend the next twenty minutes looking through some science books in the library's non-fiction section. I try to pick up some ideas that might turn into stories, but my mind is really still in the meeting room, wondering what they're saying about me. I eventually begin to wonder if they'll send someone out for me, or if I should knock on the door and ask. After puttering around the library a few minutes more I knock on the door.

"Can I come back in now?" I say.

Fabian gives me the evil eye, but tells me to sit down.

"Can I say a few words in my defense?" I say. "Do you want me to explain?"

"No," Larry says, flatly. "We've already taken a vote. By unanimous decision, we want you to leave the group."

Who appointed Larry the boss, I wonder. Did they vote on that, too?

I'm surprised the voting was "unanimous." Pamela? Peter? You both knew about the blog for several weeks and said nothing, so I thought you were mostly on my side, especially since Pamela was also blogging about the group. If I'm getting kicked out, then I suppose you, Pamela, may also be catching some grief, so perhaps you have to go along with this "unanimous" vote. Larry, I know you didn't like the blog, but do you want to be the only published pro writer in the group? Or is it just because I mentioned your boneheaded scheme to have me write your stories for you? Kasim, Hachi, Sapphire -- was I unkind to any of you? Will you be better off now without my input?

I return the marked-up manuscripts for Kasim's and Pamela's stories from last week, along with my written critiques. If either of you have any questions about the crits or want any sort of clarification, e-mail me. No hard feelings.

Maybe I've done the Garden Variety Writers a disservice with my brief membership. They were a reasonably happy bunch (I think) before I came along, and may be happy again without me. Sorry if I stirred things up too much.

I leave the library, perhaps for the last time. Is this the end of theChronicles of the Garden Variety Writers? Probably. I hope the people reading it were able to learn a thing or two along the way. I sure did. But don't let it scare you off of local face-to-face writing groups. A lot of the nonsense that went on in this particular group was pretty atypical. Most of the groups you'll encounter just stick to the business of writing.

Come back next week and we'll see if there's anything left to say.

Copyright © 2002 Brian Plante Count=6552

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