Outed!At work, that is--and as a writer! Moreover, as a writer of ah, unusual fiction.
Here's how it happened. I'd been asked to contribute to a book my company is publishing called The Elements of Internet Style--a cool sort of book about how the internet has changed how we read and write and how we have to develop new usage rules. Think about it--email or e-mail? If you dump huge chunks of text on your website (and should that be Web site or Website?) will anyone stay around long enough to read them ?
So the editor of the book, at a company meeting, read out my bio with great glee--not only have I held some rather unusual jobs (archaeologist, performing arts publicist, yak groomer, classical music radio announcer--I'm making one of these up) but I am a writer of women's historical fiction for HarperCollins and erotic romance for NAL. Gasps of consternation. Now, some of the people already knew about my other life. But this is an environment where our concept of a good time is a spirited half-hour debate on appropriate comma usage; if you post a notice in the coffee room about proper disposal of soda cans someone will attack it liberally with a red pencil. Mass market fiction is viewed with some misgiving.
And then what? Surprisingly, very little. A few comments that I write something for the new 18+ restricted part of the company website (right. Talk to my agent); some genuine interest and admiration. Yes, getting a book published from a bona fide publisher is a big deal. It's nice to be reminded of that.
Do your colleagues at work know what you read or write, or that you have a passion outside of work? Do you keep it a secret, and if so, why? I'd say in my case it's because I've long believed that work and the rest of my life should be discrete; keeping that balance and distance is important.
And what did you think of the original (BBC) The Office vs. the pale NBC imitation?
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