I noticed you typing there….[hopeful glance]…are you a writer?
Yes, I am. [shy smile]
She fingered the book she was holding. Eat, Pray, Love. She glanced sideways at me.
Anything I might have….? Do you…?
I write online. I’m a blogger.
That’s where the conversation usually ends.
It was about a year ago that I embarked on the end of a trail that has led me here. And here. And here. And of course here. (And soon to be two more places, eventually three.) After a month of NaNoWriMo-ing last November, all 50,000 crappy but extremely cathartic words of it, I took a deep breath and decided that I was finally going to call myself a writer. Not long after, I became one, at least began being paid to do so.
But I’ve noticed that people have some interesting views of what a “writer” is.
1. Blogging isn’t writing.
Over the past 10 days I had occasion to pass through a border guard station at the US/Canada border several times. Like, maybe 10. That’s a lot. And these people apparently don’t have much to do.
So, where’s home for you?
What are you doing here? [emphasis on the here. Like nobody in their right mind would be here if they didn't have to be.]
I’m on vacation.
Oh? [silence for a moment. Vacation? Here??] What do you do for a living?
[I consider saying I'm a channel, but that would require explanation, far more of one than I feel like giving. So I go with the other option, just as valid.]
I’m a writer.
[perkier] Oh? What do you write?
I’m a blogger.
You get paid to do that?
[I smile and shrug a little] I know! Who knew! [p.s. I'm doing what I love and I can do it from home or, really anywhere? Can you say that?]
2. A writer must write novels.
Again with the observant seatmate:
I saw you writing…are you a…writer?
[smile, though frankly this one has gotten a bit weary by now] Yes.
I love reading!
Oh? What do you read?
Mysteries….so do you write novels?
Ah, no [too much explanation to say I am writing one, have written another]. I write online.
[flatly, clearly disappointed] Oh.
So…I figure I move in different circles from most people. Because with the people I know, if you say you’re a writer that can mean almost anything. And often does.
And I’m proud of what I do. I don’t feel a need to be apologetic about it; it’s what I do. It, like everything else, doesn’t define me as a person, but no one thing does.
So I’m a writer. And I’m a channel and an artist and a blogger and a cyclist and a mother and a lover.
And many more things.
But none of us really fit into these neat little boxes, do we? We see the boxes that we think define us, then climb in and after awhile find they don’t fit. They are too confining. Or they are the wrong shape. So we look for other boxes.
Instead of boxes, I think I am going to simply remain in the open. Less secure, maybe, but infinitely less confining.
[Another new post is up at Springing Light. Yes, this was a wonderfully creative and transforming trip; read about my experience in the forest!]