Angry Robot

The Furtive Writer

What’s poppin, he wrote furtively to himself at work. Of all the secret habits to have, writing was the worst.

It was hard to hide in most situations. Ever try dipping your quill in ink on the subway? Using your Fumeboy-6 coal-fired typewriter at the playground? But at work, oddly, it was open season. Apparently he wasn’t allowed to drink openly here, or even operate a still, as the training videos and HR department made abundantly clear eventually. And knitting was frowned upon, as was operating his forge. But writing was just a part of the job. It looked like everything. He could be writing an email! He could be writing a powerpoint sled! He could be writing a boring meeting!

As the thrill of flaunting office norms faded, he gradually realized that he had nothing to write about. He could review the video game he had been playing obsessively! But such write-ups of passing obsessions always made him feel foolish weeks later when he was no longer in the clutches of said obsession, like that gluten-only cookbook he self-published, or his encyclopedic survey of the market’s leading chicken costumes. If only he had withheld the photos. No, all his passions fired in the wrong directions. Niche, temporary directions.

He was wrong, as usual. There were many things to write about, that would stand the test of time, that would speak to many. The travails of the heart. The challenges of child-rearing. Managing stress. Hard-gained wisdom, hard-lost youth.

Or that hobo he had set on fire last night.