I park at a bank parking garage near downtown. I gave copy of my new novel, Rattlesnake Weddin to the parking lot attendants. For the past few days, I've been getting progress reports as they read the novel. They've let me park for free a few days so I must be doing something right.
As a lawyer, I park in the morning for a few hours, and then I return in the afternoon for another hour. I encounter two women who have been sharing the same copy.
The morning attendant is a woman in her fifties. I don't know how she ended working in a parking lot, but apparently she is an avid reader. She made it through the book in two days as less people leave in the mornings so she has more uninterrupted time. She loved it, but couldn't give me much feedback other then telling me "I love it."
The fact that she read it so fast is a great testament. The fact that she validated my parking for three days straight validated my literary skills.
The woman in the afternoon is taking a little longer to read the book because she has to deal with more customers leaving. She is in her sixties, and is a retired teacher. She's a little vague about why she is here so I don't ask.
She is offering more detailed critiques about each chapter. As I fumble to find my ticket, she will offer her own opinions on the story. She was right about the fact that one character would get in trouble. She was totally wrong yesterday about who dies in the end, but I had to be polite and not tell her what would really happen.
Thankfully, someone honked and I had to drive away before I could reveal any spoilers.
I am learning more about my writing from these two women than I did in my writing class while pursuing an MFA.
Obviously, I would like the head of the English department at Harvard to read my book and offer a critique. Perhaps he can get a job at the parking lot when the afternoon woman retires...