David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Who's the new guy? And how did he get in here?

June 13, 2011: Who's the new guy? And how did he get in here?

I recently joined a literary fiction writers group on LinkedIn. I'm not sure if this is a good move or not. I feel like an educator first, writer somewhere farther down the list (on a good day, it is almost second). Truthfully, I might never write another novel and I could be fine with that. On the other hand, every day I hear of something from the hallowed halls of academia and I think, "that should go into a sequel."

[Excuse a rabbit trail] For instance, upon reflection of the Ohio State football scandal, I envision a fictional scandal where a provost must resign, Jim-Tressel style (hey, if the vest fits, wear it), because stories have come out that his faculty have been passing students in exchange for good scotch (only Laphroaig, of course). The provost repeatedly denies the stories, the president sticks behind his academic leader, citing a media hell-bent on bringing down a good man. Eventually, the Provost has to resign, saying in his final statement, "What was I to do? They're faculty. I can't keep them from drinking. I can only try to keep them from drinking and grading."

I digress (no kidding); as I review my fellow members in this literary fiction group, I note that I am one of a handful (out of 377) who is listed by a full name. Everyone else seems to be a character out of Kafka: Fran F., Joe W., Eric B (or in Python language, Eric the half a B), Jordan Z. I am not quite sure what to make of this, as I thought the whole point of LinkedIn was to network professionally, and that's kind of difficult to do when I can't say anything more than "Eric B. writes great novels!" Perhaps, it's because so many of the members are holding down jobs that aren't simply "writer." Maybe there are a whole lot of bosses out there who have no idea that their purchasing directors are, egads, writers.

So, maybe I'm missing something there. And if I am, then everyone knows it's David Fleming, and not any number of idiots named David F. (My apologies to all my fellow David F.'s out there.)

I even jumped in on the chance to share blogs. It seemed like a great idea to see what other people can generate on a more regular basis than me. I even mentioned when offering up the website address for this blog that all of this feels way too self-indulgent. I can see that many of my colleagues are much better than I am at shaking off that feeling. So many blogs are earnest and genuine and packed with tips about writing. Meanwhile one comes to this site and I'm likely to be talking about faculty trading grades for cases of Laphroaig. Maybe I should be going only by David F. Or, if I was even smarter, by Monty P.