Monday, November 10

A few words on writing

I never thought of myself as a writer. An editor, sure, but never a writer. And yet here I am. I suppose I always had writer tendencies. As a child, I always chose the young writers’ competition over the science fair. I even wrote little stories about sea otters or orphans or whatever subject I happened to have recently read about. In junior high I wrote in a journal. But if you asked me what I would become, I never would have said a writer.

And yet a writer is what I am. True, my employer claims that I am an editor. But editing is not what brings the glory. “I edited 850 books this year,” I say. “Oh, that’s interesting,” people say as their eyes glaze over and their minds drift away to thoughts of defrosting chicken or of last night’s game. But when I say “I wrote four books this year,” it’s an entirely different story. “Oh, really?” they say as they sit up a little straighter. “That’s so cool! What kind of books?”

I don’t know why this matters. I think it’s cooler to write books than to edit them, too. Maybe it’s just that I love editing and the fact that I’ve found someone who will pay me to do what I love seems worthy of some recognition, whereas writing is something that just fell into my lap.

However, there is a certain something about being a writer that evokes a very visceral image. I can’t help but picture myself as l’auteur—a hybrid of New York sophistication and 1920s old worldliness—at a cocktail party celebrating the launch of my book tour, perched on the edge of a leather club chair with chardonnay in one hand, crudité in the other, gaily recounting stories of toiling over my first manuscript, stories of sitting quietly for hours watching the mist rise over my own Walden Pond just waiting for inspiration to strike or of losing myself at my Smith Corona, whom I’ve nicknamed “Old Faithful”—and of course I say “whom” and not “which” because she is no less a part of my family than my own mother, and also I’m a writer and I want everyone to know I understand the difference between who and whom—and as I type I am certain that I am writing The Great American Novel and that fame and fortune will soon be mine…

My own stories are not of typewriters and nature. They are of cubicles and a nameless iMac. And I am not writing The Great American Novel or any novel at all; I am writing children’s books and gift books. But I wouldn’t change a thing. And I can’t wait for the day when the first book I wrote hits the shelves (coming soon to a Hallmark Gold Crown store near you).

1 comment:

MOM said...

I never doubted for a moment that you were a good writer when I read your childhood stories. But now, I truly look forward to your blogs because you are a great story teller. Today---short Hallmark books...some day---the Great American novel. I can't wait!!!