Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Harriet, my 82-year-old neighbor…
Is harassing me!
Yes, that wisp of a woman with thin bluish hair…
Just won’t leave me alone.
“When are you going to let me read your manuscript?”
She had asked back in the summer.
Well, I thought she was just being polite.
Then I ran into her in the fall on my way to the dumpster.
“When are you going to let me read your manuscript?”
Again, I thought she was just being polite.
(why did I have to brag that I wrote a novel?)
And then, just yesterday, on the floor in my foyer…
A white envelope…
Had been slipped through the mail slot in the door.
There was no return address, not even my address…
Just  my name.
I opened it up.
A belated holiday card.
Oh, no! It was from Harriet…
I still want to read your manuscript, the card said.
Oh, why won’t this pushy woman quit tormenting me!
Clarity struck me…
As clearly as seeing my pores in a 15X magnifying mirror…
I’m afraid!
Of Harriet…
Reading my manuscript!
But why?
It's a love story
Sure, there's sex
And some cuss words
But after all 
She is 82…
Surely she can handle it.
But what if
Lord! That'll kill my writing career.
But obviously that wouldn't happen.
What is holding me back…
From giving Harriet my manuscript?
Can you shed some light?
Should I let her read it?
What should I do?
What would you do?

Always, Em-Musing


Joanne said...

Hm, that's a tough one. I think that with the exception of critique partners, many writers are reluctant to share their manuscripts, other than with agents. I'd probably not give Harriet a look ... Happy New Year to you, all best in 2011!

Jessica Bell said...

LOLOL! Keep avoiding her and hope she gets amnesia? Oh God, that was a terrible thing to say ... :-/

Elena Solodow said...

Let it fly.

(But as a side note, people always want to read it - them actually doing it is another thing. I would give it to her.)

Anne Gallagher said...

Well, if it were me, I would let her read it. She's asked you 3 times which means she's interested in you and what you do, which to me, means she likes you.

She's 82, probably lonely, and doesn't have many friends.

And, on another angle, if you do let her read it, sex scenes and cuss words, maybe she'll not like you anymore and not bother you again.

Who knows, she may be able to crit your work. She might be a former English teacher or something.

Justine Dell said...

Well, have you let people read your MS before?

I would give it to her. The more eyes, the better I say! ;-)


Chris Phillips said...

Let her do it. i doubt she'll die, and i don't want her to, but i think it would give you street cred more than it would wreck your career. But now that you posted this make sure you don't tell her about your blog.

T. Anne said...

Ha! I'm laughing so hard. I too have many Harriet's in my life. And I too think they cannot handle the sex and the, well, sex. (Albeit fleeting and under highlighted) LOL! (Go ahead, just try and kill her. ;)