“What do you do?” They drew out the question lengthwise as they asked.
I know the implication of the question, what do I do for work. How do I define myself. Work is the thing that is supposed to define my life. However, this idea, that the actions we take to make money defines who we ‘are’, needs some…tweaking. I think more people ‘do’ something different than the job they hold. I don’t think the work we do defines us anymore.
Back in the day, who you were was evident by a persons very name. Baker, maker of bread; Taylor, maker of clothes; Fletcher, maker of arrows; Webb, a weaver. Then, you didn’t have to ask ‘what do you do’, all you had to do was ask a persons surname and it was evident.
Times have changed.
I work at a library. That does not define me. I do like books and words and all things related to the book, but I’m not a librarian, it isn’t who I am. I have bills to pay and this is one job that doesn’t seem to stifle my soul.
I do fall back on this when asked what I do, I reply, “I work at the library.”
I am not ashamed of being a writer, it’s just that being a writer comes with insecurities. I could go on for days and bore you with how writers all over, all through time, have dealt with demons and insecurities. Writer’s are known to spend hours putting pen to page and creating some of the most awe inspiring work around; and yet if you got one of those writers in person to talk to you, you would find out that they think their work crap, worthless. I could go create an entire blog on writers and their insecurities alone, but I don’t want to. So lets just say, I don’t often answer the question, ‘what do you do’ with the answer ‘I’m a writer.’
This time though, I did answer that way. Shoulders back, only a little waver in my voice, “I’m a writer.” I announced.
“Oh.” Was the uninterested answer.
The thing is, admitting I’m a writer is a big deal, I don’t do that very often.
I am not JUST a writer, even that statement is simplistic in meaning. So what am I then?
I am an entertainer, a keeper of stories that have been shared with me, I am a collage artist, I am a researcher, I am an risk taker, I am a framer of acceptance letters, I am a collector of rejection notes, a typist, I am a dreamer. I am just one more in the long line of storytellers that will not quit until I have left my mark on the world in the form of stories.
I, am a writer.