Friday, January 09, 2009

resting on your sheep?

Many thanks to those who wished me a happy birthday! I managed to get back to some of you...but not everybody. I'm sorry about that. It's been sort of a busy week over here in writer land. If I haven't gotten back to you or don't have a good way to contact you, please know I am so grateful for your b-day wishes!

The good news is that I've got plenty of work lined up. The bad news is that, well, I've got a lot of work lined up. :)

Here's a story to tide you over 'til I come back to post again. This past week I met a woman in Nashville who was "between opportunities." Let's call her Gert. Gert asked what I did. I said I was a writer and that I had a book coming out soon. I burst with pride. I couldn't wait to talk about it. She jumped in to ask about how one becomes a writer. I tried to be encouraging, explaining the (long) process. Gert asked for details right down to how to write a cover letter. Again, I briefly explained. I said that one of my favorite parts of being a writer was that writers have to read a lot. I love to read! I read a lot! Reading makes you a good writer! There was a pause in conversation.

"So...." Gert says, looking a bit concerned..or maybe put out. "How many books would I have to read?"

"Oh, one or two a week!" I replied. I was still grinning with enjoyment there. It became clear about then that Gert thought she might could dive in and try this writer thing while looking for "real" work. After that, we heard that Gert wanted to get rid of her dog, she hated that dog but no one would take him. Uh Oh. The professor and I left the gathering sort of fast, and Gert....after that first dog statement, things got weird.

Later that day, we laughed about the situation, (we had to laugh) which seemed increasingly awkward. (the dog part was plain appalling) I hadn't mentioned to Gert that I meant one or two books a week know...the last thirty years. So, underestimating, we're talking 1,600 books or so?

Pride goeth before a fall--maybe I was resting on my laurels or something like that. Should have realized that Gert didn't think there was anything to this "writer act" before I embarrassed myself further... That she felt she could fit in all those books tomorrow and write her own book next week.

Good thing I can laugh. Otherwise, I'd be crying! It's taken me years to write a book. It's taken me years before I can say, "yes, I'm pretty busy working!"
Turns out Gert just thought I had loads of time to spare, since, you know, I was a big FAKE writer who doesn't do much! You know,--just like Sally here, resting on her sheep pillow-ahem-squeaky toy. Oh well. That poor dog. I almost wanted to drive 70 miles back towards Nashville just to rescue Gert's dog...nobody should dislike their own dog...

Weird, huh? So, what's the right response to these bizarre encounters?! Advice? Weird tales of your own to share?

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Blogger Kathryn said...

I think most people are impressed when someone says they're a writer; it's along the same lines as someone saying to a knitter, "Oh, I wish I could do that." People don't think they're creative enough or smart enough or something.

Then again, there are definitely those "Gerts" out there. "Writing is for sissies and arty types." "I'm way too busy and important to read." etc.

Gert-people just make you appreciate the people who love reading (& writing) more.

January 9, 2009 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Kathryn, I've left a note on your blog but wow, such a nice comment...thank you. I feel like you just came over for a cup of tea to say that, yes, folks who like to read books need to stick together. :)

January 9, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm always offering up my dog to people I meet. They positively swoon at her cuteness. I love my old mutt, but she's one annoying little cuss, the champion of whine. I wouldn't really give my dog away (I don't think!), but I'd have probably laughed about Gert's doggie complaints, much as I laugh when people say they're ready to sell their kids or send their spouse back. Then again...I haven't met Gert. Maybe she was a little too serious in her complaints!

Meanwhile, as you know, I understand all too well this notion that you're just goofing off if you aren't at a "real" job. If only people knew...

January 9, 2009 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

"So, what's the right response to these bizarre encounters?! "

humm...sounds like you did the right thing..."run away!"

January 10, 2009 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger SueJ said...

Wnat to give your dog away? Sorry, don't understand that sentance! His cuteness is curled up in his armchair in the kitchen after a good walk & an hour or so in the garden, letting folk know that he is 'back' after a working week & a week at Grandads! Overall it sounds like one of those situations where you (or at least I) would spend weeks thinking of the perfect thing I should have said!

January 10, 2009 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

How strange! I never understand when people say they don't like to read. I may not get to read as many books as I'd like to, but I can't imagine NOT reading.

I don't know why some people think being a writer is easy--doesn't make any sense to me!

January 10, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

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