Not of the unknown, but of the family. Whether it's the immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother) or the screwy relations (cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and other assorted odds and ends), the family is what probably scares the writer the most.
I know it does me.
My comfort level in having people read my short stories/novels/novellas looks something like this, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest:
Complete strangers: 10
Blog readers: 8
Friends, no matter what the pecking order is: 6
Screwy relations: 4
Immediate family: 0
Notice how the immediate family ranks a 0, even though 1 was the lowest you can get.
Well my friends, let me tell you something. Ever since I'd started writing some six years ago, I made a personal vow that I would never show any of my stories to my immediate family. Why? Because my immediate family has, over the years, mocked and never took seriously anything that I've tried to do to either better myself or simply expand my knowledge and horizons.
So you can imagine both my surprise and my concern when my wife decided in the tail end of 2011, that she wanted to read my some of my short stories. Basically, the conversation went something like this:
"Can I read some of your short stories?"
And then it continued with me asking what she wanted to read and she told me what she wanted and with great reluctance, I pulled out my Spiderman folder that contained about six short stories: two that were published and four more that I was shopping around.
She enjoyed the stories and thus I dodged another bullet, since I was totally petrified that she would have a very negative reaction to what I had written, because as most of you know, I do not write clean normal stuff.
Fast forward to this year. This past weekend, she asked if she could read my chapbook "Betrayed!". Stupidly I had asked why. Smartly, she answered that while she was interested in the novel that I'd just sold, she didn't quite have enough time to read it, so she wanted to read something shorter.
With no option available to me beyond saying yes, I pointed to the small box sitting in the corner that contained pristine unsold copies and told her to help herself to a copy.
At this point, I had moved way beyond being petrified and was now residing in the realm of "I am in deep shit."
Yes, I really was that scared. Up until six months ago, my wife was both blissfully unaware of what I wrote for fiction and not even remotely interested in what I'd actually written. Now, not only is she aware of the kind of fiction that I write, but she actually wants to read it. Thus, I was occupying the residence of "I am in deep shit."
So I spent the entire weekend asking how she was liking the book, and much to my surprise (and quite frankly, to my relief), she said that she was enjoying the book very much.
Even though she was enjoying the book (and more pointedly, asked about my first one) and had enjoyed the few short stories that I'd felt comfortable in showing to her, it still doesn't change my personal rule of not showing my writing to my immediate family. I should mention one other reason why I won't show my stories to any of my immediate family: my immediate family, save for my daughter, don't read.
Yup, kind of hard to believe, but the plain truth is that except for my daughter, who inherited her love of reading from me, no one in my house likes to read. As a rule, my wife normally doesn't read except when she's feeling really adventurous, and neither do my son or my mother read, except the t.v. viewing guide.
So because of those reasons, I feel more comfortable in showing/talking about my stories to complete strangers, readers, friends, co-workers and screwy relations, than I do with my own family.
How about you? Do you feel more comfortable in showing whatever your hobby/passion happens to be, to your immediate family? Or, do you feel more comfortable in showing your hobby/passion to people who arne't your immediate family? Or is it a complete toss-up?