2.6.15

Shshsh. I’m a Writer.

The summer writing season has begun.
If you would like a post on any particular topic, please send me your request.
I'd be happy to consider it. 


Summer post by Gila Green

I have a confession. When I fill out forms in my kids’ schools or any other official forms —for some reason only schools seem to come to mind, but that’s another post—I always write ‘housewife’ under mother’s occupation and I instruct my husband to do the same. He always nudges me in the ribs with the same expression on his face, his jaw slightly lowered, his eyes at a half roll.
“Because” I hiss at his unasked question. “How many times do I have to tell you?” This is normally enough for him to shrug his shoulders and follow my instructions. 
Would that all marital conflicts resolve themselves so easily.
So, why don’t I put in writer or even editor?  Because I always, yes always, receive the same reaction if I tell someone I’m a writer. “Oh, what have you written?” “Have I read anything you’ve written?” (Please replace the word written with published because that’s what is meant by the question.) Ditto for editor.
Immediately, I am aware that this person has no clue what it means to be a writer and has been taken in by some idea of a glamorous past-time (there’s no glamour involved), and an exciting career. It is only exciting if you call dealing with non stop rejection and struggling with yourself (because you're alone most of the day) for zero or little pay exciting.
It takes too long to explain that writing has nothing to do with publishing—at least longer than the sixty seconds most people have for face-to-face conversation these days. I’m saying that again: writing has nothing to do with publishing. You can be a writer even if you’ve never published a single word and let’s be honest; it’s not hard to publish today. Anyone with a computer and internet access can publish just about anything, and for relatively little cost, too.
If you are a writer, you write because that’s what you do. You won’t stop no matter how many rejections pile up, how many funny looks, negative reviews or how much criticism you receive and you won’t stop because you’re not published. Believe me. I’ve tried.
What I mean when I say I’m a writer is “I write,” not “here’s my publication history” and I certainly don’t mean to open up a line of conversation with someone who thinks there’s a hint of the celebrity about writers (there isn’t).
Now housewife! Remember, I'm at a school, so housewife includes mother. That’s clear, that’s unquestionable and in Israel anyway, it’s still a very respected profession, at least in my experience. For some reason, it engenders a full stop type of response. No one reads it on a form and says, "Really? You’re a housewife, how exciting that you have the opportunity to educate and raise young human beings, how do you manage the children’s schedules, original yet nutritious dinners, the…."

But that’s another post on a different blog. Not a blog like this one, unlisted on any form. 

1 comment:

Joyce Barton said...

Just had this conversation with my critique buddy; we never admit to ‘writing fiction’ anymore. My favorite reactions to ‘I write fiction’:

-“Oh, is that like a hobby?” (Are you kidding me? Hobbies are fun and/or relaxing)
-“Fiction…like Star Trek?” (Not exactly…try explaining fiction to a somewhat-intelligent man who only reads news)

What makes it all OK is, we’re writing. No matter what.