Sunday, April 5, 2009


As we all know, writers are by nature very insecure people, especially in the early years when perhaps the only thing we get published is a letter to the editor and that's cut from four paragraphs to three lines. In fact, for years, basic insecurity was the only thing I had to affirm my credibility as a writer.
But even in my moment of greatest anxiety, I never reached the heights (or should I say the depths) of insecurity as did Glenda Gibberish. She wrote an entire book on squares of toilet tissue and hid each page in an empty roll. When her husband, Harry, asked about all the cardboard cylinders lining the dresser, Glenda told him she was making toys for the gerbils.

That worked well until he decided to take an interest in the welfare of the pets. She lost one whole chapter in a single afternoon.

Following that disaster, Glenda resorted to stuffing the rolls in her underwear drawer, in the empty cookie jar, and in the springs of the old sofa bed. She figured she was safe since she put her own clothes away and nobody ever bothered with the cookie jar since she never baked. But she forgot about her mother-in-law's visit. Oddly enough, the other woman said nothing when they unfolded the bed and toilet tissue rolls fell out, but Harry gave her one of those looks that we women enjoy so much. Then he surprised the gerbils with new toys.

This ruse went on for years, and she couldn't bring herself to tell a soul that she was writing. Then one day she was hit with this overwhelming urge to “out” herself. It was the same compulsion that drives a dieter to a banana split at Dairy Queen, and try as she might Glenda couldn't shake it. So she had lunch with her best friend.

“Oh, no. Is it serious?”

“Not right now, but it could be.”

“How long... I mean, have you been this way forever?”

“Since I was a little girl. But, you know. It isn't the kind of thing you just drop into casual conversation.”

“Good. Maybe we can keep it from getting around.”

“Don't worry. I have plenty of editors looking out for me on that count.”

“Have you told Harry yet?”

“No. But he did wonder about the sudden demise of Jake the gerbil. I think he choked on a particularly graphic sex scene.”


“No. The gerbil.”

“Hasn't Harry noticed you writing ?”

“Right now, I tell him I'm going into the closet to straighten up a few things. But that's not going to last long. Sooner or later he's going to remember that I don't like to straighten anything.”

“Don't worry. You can trust me with your secret.”

“Actually, I wouldn't mind if you told a few people. My book comes out next month and I need the publicity.”

Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. She won her first writing award at age twelve with a short story in the Detroit News Scholastic Writing Awards Contest and continues to garner recognition for her short stories, books, and screenplays. You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Pageread her  Blog,  and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And, no, her middle name is not Glenda.


  1. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. What a great way to start the week. Thanks, Maryann!


  2. LOL! Thanks Maryann. I'm glad I'm not the only insecure writer around here. ;)

  3. Well one thing I can say- I'm not THAT insecure. HA!
    Good job Maryann.

  4. Very funny. For anyone who is a writer, it edges so close to reality that it makes you want to take the computer into the closet to read this story so you can guffaw in private.

  5. "In fact, for years, basic insecurity was the only thing I had to affirm my credibility as a writer."


  6. That was really cute. It's true that it's a lot easier for me to publicize other people than myself.

    Morgan Mandel

  7. I so identified with this very funny post!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  8. Thanks everyone for all the kind words about this post. I enjoy writing funny stuff about being an author, among other things, and always appreciate it when folks enjoy it.

    That line about basic insecurity being the only thing that affirmed my writing was one I used to write on the blackboard when teaching a writing class. That is what the students would see first day of class, and it always seemed to get us off on good footing.


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