Who? Me?

“So, you’re a writer,” she said.

I felt a panic flood my body that had nothing to do with the icepick she was holding inches from my face.

This dentist appointment had started out so harmlessly. I’ve had the same dental hygienist for ten years, and we have no problem chatting about life, the universe, and everything. She asked me what I did for Thanksgiving. I asked how her daughter was doing in college. We covered the advantages of gift cards over cash, and we talked about my students. I told her about the castle…and then I mentioned my blog.

“So, you’re a writer.”

I suddenly understood how deer feel when they’re caught in the cross-hairs of high beams.

Saying, “I’m a writer,” conjures images of smoky, dimly lit coffeehouses where I scribble furiously in a leather-bound journal, mutter cryptic half-sentences, and gaze existentially at a portrait of Che Guevara. It implies soul-searching, star-gazing, and a propensity to find deeper meaning in everything from steeping tea to flushing the toilet. Claiming to be a writer is claiming to be creative, frustrated, and often penniless.

Saying, “I’m a writer,” means I have to write. I must produce. Because once I stop writing, I’m no longer a writer. I’m just someone who sometimes writes.

Once I know I have to do something, I no longer want to do it. It becomes a chore, a drudgery, a resentment.

I blinked.

“Um, no. I’m not a writer. Just, sometimes I think funny things. And sometimes I write them down.”

She laughed and stuck the icepick back in my mouth.

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11 thoughts on “Who? Me?

  1. I feel like this sometimes! My writing is so sporadic that the periods where I am not writing, I always wonder if I can call myself a writer. It is not like they are few and far in between either. I think maybe I just write my musings.

    Great Post!

    Adieu, scribbler

    • Thanks for the visit and kind comments.
      Honestly, I’ve never truly thought of myself as a writer – just as someone who occasionally has a way with words. (This post actually started out as a “How do you define yourself?” post and morphed into this.)

  2. So funny 🙂 as was the point.
    I have always WANTED to be a writer. But now I often do not have the time… seems very few writers of consequence through the ages have had small children during their pivotal writing years. 🙂 And I sometimes fear no one will ever care to read what I write. But I compose posts in my head throughout the day. Sadly, most will probably never see the “light of the screen.”
    I suppose I see myself more like Anne of Green Gables. Sitting in the sunshine by the shore, scribbling words furiously before they vanish. 🙂

    • I rather like your writing. Well-worded and thought-provoking. 🙂
      As far as people reading what is written, sometimes I have to ask myself if I’m writing to be read, or writing just to get it out of my head. I would like to think I’m writing just for the sake of the written word, but my feelings when I view the dropping traffic on my blog, sometimes betray me.
      …and Anne had such beautiful scenery to write by! Surely that counted for some sort of inspiration!

  3. I loved this post. I used to just consider myself someone-who-blogs (aka posts pictures to share with family)…it’s only been recently that someone told me I was a beautiful writer. I was kind of shocked. Then I realized it was true. And yes, it’s scary being a writer.

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