Today I allowed someone else -- a close friend of mine, actually -- to teach my fiction workshop for me. I would NOT describe this as akin to allowing a friend to make out with my boyfriend, or spend the day shopping with my mother on her birthday. Not quite "akin."

But when it comes down to it, the same strange receptors are firing in the brain. After all, what are workshop students if not "intellectual children" (whether they are "chip off the block" or "wayward son") -- they are creative forces come in search of an organizing principle. At this level, the "undergraduate/beginning" level, the instructor is able to be extremely helpful in non-controversial ways (not true in grad programs); when you're at the level where the students are still making genuine mis-steps (not just "aesthetic choices of questionable wisdom"), the teacher feels like she is really bringing these babes out into the world, giving them, in brochure-speak, the tools to succeed!

But I'm sick. So to whom but a close friend would I entrust my creative clan? Whether or not Scarlett and I have our own creative differences ("aesthetic choices of questionable...") I know she will treat them with respect and "do no harm" (O, great Hippocrates!) -- yet my wing flinches outward like a protective pullet's around my chicks, and I hope next week they won't have decided they (gasp!) like Scarlett better!

Writers were not meant to feel like this! Writers are recluses, miserly with their affections, uncharitable in their assessments! Lonesome and unyeilding and probably alcholics: but only to help suppress those embarrassing cross-dressing urges.... Oh, wait. It's the twenty-FIRST Century. Nevermind. ;-)

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