I stand from the folding chair in the back of the room. "My name is Elvee and I'm a writer," I say quietly. "Hi Elvee," The room says in unison. The man on the podium smiles his plastic smile and says in a sing-song voice, "Welcome. Admitting it is the hardest step, Elvee, and we're proud of you." He looks at the rest of the room, "Aren't we?" Murmurs of assent rumble through the room and I get a few charitable - or are they pitying- smiles. Podium Man extends his hand in my direction, "Why don't you tell us a little about yourself?" Hurriedly I say, "I wrote a novel." Then I hedge, "Well, it was twelve years ago, but I did it. I hired an editor and even got two proposals to publish it." Short gasps come from the front of the audience, and I deflate, "But I couldn't do it. I chickened out." The man sitting next to me looks at me like I just ate my own sh@#, "Why not?" I feel like I'm three years old again and hiding behind my mother's legs. I mumble, "I didn't think it was my best work." Podium Man prompts the room, "What is a novel, group?" "A long piece of prose with something wrong with it." The room intones somberly, like a hominy. Podium Man's plastic smile reappears, "Good. You'd all do well to remember that." He gestures for me to take a seat and scans the crowd, "And who's next?"