Sunday, April 7, 2013

Since You're A Writer...

“You’d like this because you’re a writer…”

A few years ago, when still a fledgling writer and as I carefully eked out announcements to friends and family that I’d written a book, that comment gave me a thrill of pride and excitement. Such a boost for one’s ego to be thought of as something you’d only secretly wanted to be known as. Everyone has only ever known me as an artist, but after a while, that get’s a little old…right?

But as time passed, and the entire familial clan and assorted friends I’ve known for eons gradually got used to the idea that I tell tales and write them down, while the novelty (to them) is still there and they are impressed (still so good for my ego and I am very appreciative for it), they tend to make that same comment. And lately, it’s starting to bug me. Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud to be known now as a writer and I’m extremely glad that they see me as such. It’s been an on and off road with many meanderings along the way. But I’m also still an artist, and I’m also just me (when still on Earth). By them saying I’d like something because I’m a writer makes me wonder if I’ve somehow separated from myself.

It's true. Writers see things slightly askew to fit into our twisted little brains and we run countless mini-movies and cut scenes like a drama queen director...all in the blink of an eye. I've been known to wander into my thoughts and play out scenarios while in the middle of a conversation with an unsuspecting soul. Of course, the wanderings only arise when I see, or am in, the right sort of inspiration that sets it off. Being prompted to 'like' something because 'I'm a writer' just doesn't do it for me. I'm sure accountants, or doctors, or even astronauts don't get asked: "Oh, you'd like this because you're a gynecologist...'

But it does makes me wonder: How do they know I’d like it? Just because (now) I write, I’d like something more than when I draw or design? How come they never said that when I was just an artist? Because such-and-such did this the other day with something akin to a sitcom scenario, I’d better pay attention because I’m a writer and I’d like it? Because this dinner tastes simply fabulous and the ambiance in the restaurant is gorgeous so it would appeal to my writer sensibilities and I’d like it? Because this guy has a weird personality tick so I should take a look at him because I’d like it because I’m a writer.

Since I’m (generally) a polite person, I just smile, nod my head, agree and let it pass. But when the person saying it to me starts repeating themselves three, sometimes four times in one sitting…I’m the one getting the weird personality tick. While I appreciate and am most definitely flattered that I’m seen as a writer, trust me people, whatever you think I’d like, I’ve probably already seen it, taken note of it, and stored it away safely in the confines of my brain at least ten minutes to an hour ahead of you. We writer types don’t miss a stitch, and combined with my artist sensibilities, that’s a lethal, all-seeing combo.

I dunno. Is it just me? This is not meant to be a rant (okay, well, maybe a microscopic one with much tongue and cheek) but a reminder that we writers are still the same people as before. Not everything is deemed user-friendly scenarios for us. And not everything takes our interest. So...treat us the same as ever, or we just might write you in our next book and kill you off in chapter one! Kidding. Really, I am. And, (evil grin) I see you squirming, and I like it because I’m a writer.



Big Mike said...

I think there's an element to it you might be missing. About two dozen friends and acquaintance, each time they see me, even if its a cashier at Wally world, they stop and ask about my writing, what have I done lately, did you hear about the local writer..., saw the article in the paper about you..., etc. They do it because we do something they long for, we're published. IOW, if only slightly, those that secretly want to write, live a little through what we do. Plus, many use it as a conversation point with their friends, what they just heard from XYZ, did you know XYZ has a new book coming out, ... Its actually a good thing. Thought I'm not getting rich from my stories, I do enjoy it providing a positive link with so many that otherwise by walk on by. Course I am a chatty Cathy by heart.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I agree with Mike. But...I think what they mean is that something they find interesting enough to mention, you would also because you, as a writer, are more aware of the possibilities for doing something with it.

TKToppin said...

There is that as well. Many are very supportive and encouraging, and I'm very grateful for that. Julie, I think that's it also and I can see their intention behind it. But sometimes, all I want is a "day off." Thanks guys!!

Liz Fountain said...

One of my dearest friends gave me a sweatshirt that says: "in my novel, I'm plotting against you." I love it!