Tuesday, 24 April 2012

On Telling People

It's not a special anniversary or anything, but I've been thinking about being a writer, or, more specifically, about being an official, real, proper writer - in other peoples' eyes. It's no secret that I've had many strange, irksome and hilarious reactions to telling friends, families and outright strangers that I write. Or that I'm having a book published. Or anything in that vein. I've devoted whole blog posts to it.

So, on this dismally grey and dreary afternoon, I thought I'd share the highlights. Enjoy!

3. The Lady on the Bus

HER: So what do you do?
ME: Erm, I'm a writer.
HER: Oh how lovely! Do you work for a newspaper?
ME: No, I write novels.
HER: For a living? Oh you poor dear. Haven't you been able to find a real job?

2. The Guy Checking Passports at the Airport

HIM: So what do you do, miss?
ME: I'm a writer. 
HIM [perking up no end]: Really? A writer! What kind of stuff do you write? 
ME: Books. Novels, I mean. Fiction.
HIM: Wow! Any, like, crime?
ME: Erm, no. I write teen fiction. Young adult.
HIM [totally crestfallen]: Damn. I'd have asked for your autograph if you wrote crime.

and finally, a real gem-
1. My mother

ME: I have an agent! Also a book deal!
HER: Wow! Hooray! You know this is because I lit a candle to St. Jude, right?
ME [totally at sea because this is so not the kind of thing my far-too-practical mother normally does]: What?
HER: You know? The patron saint of hopeless cases?

Thanks, Mum. Thanks.

Anybody have their own 'when I told people' stories to share?


  1. Ha! So true. I've had many experiences similar to these. Which is why I need the online writing community. I'd go crazy without ya'll!

  2. I guess because I have a paying gig and I write, when people ask me what I do I tell them I'm in the Telecommuncations industry and I also write. When asked what I have published, I tell them I don't have anything published traditionally but that I did do a personal project that I published. Then again, I don't get asked very often so I suppose I'll just be quiet now :-(

  3. There's definitely a stigma against writing . . .

    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

  4. =O I'm so indignant on your behalf in regards to that (annoying) lady on the bus. I hate it when people view writing as a degraded thing. What was your response to her question btw? I'm curious.

    My fav has to be the guy on the airport. And your mom because, well, who can resist a sarcastic and witty mom? :P

  5. As if writing wasn't difficult enough...
    I'm so proud of you for persisting and achieving your goals, Sangu. There are (unfortunately) too many stories I can tell. Two favorites:

    Told my parents I wanted to take time off to write.
    Parents: "What do we tell people about you?"
    Me: "Um, the truth because I'm not in rehab for drugs, so it should be fine."

    My close college girlfriend who wanted me to come visit while I was in the midst of revisions full time.
    Friend: "Come stay with me for a couple weeks."
    Me: "I don't know if I can do a couple weeks but that would be fun."
    Friend: "But you're not really doing anything."

  6. So funny! I'm sure you'll also get the requisite, "When are you going to write real books?" response, if you haven't already!

  7. hahaha! I haven't told a whole lot of people I'm a writer, much less what I write (which I say is speculative fiction; I teeter in the "new adult" zone, which, apparently, isn't an audience. ah, well. who cares.)

  8. Hahaha! Oh, I can so relate. Now I tell people I'm a novelist and just stare them straight in the eyes, DARING them to come out with something!

  9. LOL! These are all gems, but #1 takes the cake! I can totally relate though.