I am an author. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I've kept that part of me a secret to many people for a very long time. In fact, up until two years ago I never attached my name to any of my writings, disguised behind the mask of 'The Rusty Goat.' It was out of necessity at first. Those stories in the very beginning were about real live people, mostly crazy women, who had haphazardly crossed my path, most times only hours before the tales went live on the internet for all to see. So, you can see the need for secrecy.
I feared I'd be discovered, and sometimes I was in spite of my best efforts to remain incognito. Some women just disappeared. One confronted me with a warning.
"You better be glad I don't have my pistol with me!"
And another took vengeance by pinning women against the restroom wall at the bar.
"That guy you're dancing with out there...stay far, far away from him! He'll destroy you!"
There were even rumors she had scribbled her warning on the women's restroom stalls. I dunno. It's not like I could go in and check.
I even got busted by the preacher at church. I had made a bad judgment call by listing my twitter name in the church online directory and well, really who reads that? The preacher! There I sat one Sunday morning amongst a thousand other sinners. The pastor takes his place behind his pulpit and gazes directly at me then lowers his eyes to the notes before him, and with an audible sigh, shakes his head in disgust. The topic for his morning sermon? Why a bar is no place for a Christian. It was during that sermon that I made the decision to dedicate my talents to writing 'something of substance' from that day forward.
I made a difficult decision to take off the mask as I made preparations to release the novel, 'Imperceptible - The Parables of Steele,' a book which I had digilently struggled to create as a work worthy of attaching my name to. It wasn't that particular book that made me uneasy about coming clean with my secret passion of writing. I knew the revelation that I was an author would open up a can of worms about the previous books. 'The Search for the Perfect Woman' could get me in hot water...and it has more than once. I have had local women literally hunt me down after reading that book. The scenerio looks something like this:
"I am not the Rusty Goat. He is a figment of my imagination. I just made him up!" I protest, staring at one woman or another standing before me wearing nothing but a robe.
She smiles, a twinkle in her eye, "I know, I know..." as the robe falls silently to the floor. (Okay, that only happened twice.)
Even with the release of 'Nineteen Seventy Something,' I had to maintain some attempt at anonymity. There is a woman or two...or three who could read this novel and pause mid-sentence.
"Wait a minute...this is me in this book! How dare him!"
Well, I deny everything! I write fiction. I make people up in my head! And chicklet, you were a bit phycho back in the seventies.
Even when I cautiously admitted I indeed wrote books two years ago, I was very selective with who was privy to receive this breaking news. I diligently skimmed through my Facebook friend list, choosing only those whom I felt I could trust. Even then, I only let them in on what I wanted them to know. My own mama only knows about one book...that I know of. Do I really want her reading 'The Search for the Perfect Woman?' And even with many being aware of the books, they have no clue of my weekly blogs. You just have no idea how it is to write these articles with the knowledge that if I make one mis-step, someone I know personally might take it offensively...and personally.
As you'd expect, as time passed, more and more of those close to me have discovered this 'ill kept secret.' A resurgence of discovery has reached epidemic porportions in the past month, thanks to a few personal acquaintences who have become dedicated fans of my work. So, the secret has been unleashed... and I may as well embrace it with open arms.
There are downfalls. It changes friendships. People I know seem to shy away once they discover my secret, maybe from fear that I might kill them off in my next book...I don't know. Perhaps it places me in a different league somewhere in their minds, like 'Why can't you just watch football and drink beer like the rest of us?' There are a few who are convinced that I have another deep, dark secret. That I am only playing the part of a dirt poor washed up over-the-hill wanna be cowboy. I have millions stashed away in some foreign account... they're sure of it. To set the record straight, I make a couple of bucks off of a book. I have to sell five books just to go to Starbucks. But regardless of the consequences, I have to confess.
"My name is Rodney Strange. I..." I pause as sweat forms on my brow, "am an author."
My eyes lock onto one woman in the room staring intently at me.
"We've met somewhere?" she questions.
"Yes," I respond as my heart races, "I believe you're in chapter five..."