“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Robert Benchley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Pride And Geekishness (may Jane Austen forgive me)
Fri 2006-01-13 23:09:33 (in context)
  • 321 words (if poetry, lines) long

So, what, I figure a Jane Austen riff in an anthology about female geeks makes for a delightful, how-shall-we-say, frisson, a lovely little anachronistic twinge of humorous irony. Or just humor. Or maybe it just makes me sound like a pompous ass but, y'know, I'm willing to take that chance.

I'm having fun.

The problem with autobiographical essays is figuring out what the hell's so special about me of all people that anyone should bother publishing a polished up piece of my life in their pages. For money, even. Once I get past that problem--once I convince myself I actually have lived a story worth telling--the next pitfall for me is the tendency towards self-aggrandizement. A tendency which you just might have noticed in these very pages, in fact.

With this piece, though, I think I might just manage to come over both of those hurdles unscathed. The subject is something that needs saying, can't be said enough, and places all the praise on someone not the author.

This piece is going to be a 3,500 word "thank you" to my mother.

(Hi mom!)

The nutshell is, where some daughters have been told--where some, amazingly enough in this day and age, continue to get told--that if they don't play dumb they'll risk dying unwed and unloved, oh heck, oh horrors, my Mom gave me some remarkably sane advice: Better not to marry at all, than to marry a guy who's insecure around your brain. (I think it's safe to say that I took her advice). But this isn't just about marriage. Looking back over my growing-up years, I can see a long line of encouragements and priorities that stem from the same values of which Mom's advice was an apt expression: Don't suffer fools who won't suffer you to be who you are. Don't let anyone drag you down.

As parental values go, those are some good ones. And I think they may just be responsible for the weird variety of interests and pursuits I've ended up pursuing. Knitting and aviation and spinning wheels and MySQL/PHP widgets--what the hell, why not describe it in a she-geek essay wrapped up in a Jane Austen-style frame. Damn appropriate, I think.

This puppy should see submission tomorrow, one day ahead of the deadline. Thank goodness for email. But, since acceptance is never a guarantee, I'm going to just pause here and say, without need for prior editorial review:

Mom, ya done raised a geek, and for that she's eternally grateful. Love always.