I’ll admit, I have a severe allergy to the question ‘what do YOU do?’
Why do North Americans not find that qualitative question plainly rude?
Still, it was that very phrase that set me to thinking about the appropriate reply.
Usually, I fumble around, searching for words that describe what I dabble in. Sometimes I just say that it has not been determined, this thing that I do, and leave the conversation feeling disgruntled. And I know exactly why I feel this way. Oh, I am a foster mother, I am a solitary witch (that seems to end the questioning immediately), I’ve been helping so and so with whatchamacallit, I’m studying…..blah, blah, blah.
But seldom do I say that I am a writer. Why not? Because I do not derive my living from it, and the question asked really does mean to quantify us into a specific income and status bracket. I imagine that if I declare myself to be a writer, the following questions will and do follow; ‘Have you had anything published?, Does that provide a good income? (another rude question), Is this your first novel? (snigger, snigger, another one of those people who thinks she can write), and, ‘What is your novel about?’
Fuck. So then I answer; Yes, published several times over, No, I do not make bugger all, Yes, this is my first novel, and, Oh it’s erotica and mysticism. How the sea parts at those words.
It’s a conundrum. In my head anyway. I hate the question because I hate that I don’t have the courage to just claim it, pre-published novel, pre-‘I can pay my bills on this writing addiction that I have’.
And yet, it’s who I am, and what I do. It’s what I think about as I lay my head down to sleep, in my dreams, the minute I wake, the live long day.
I’m debating throwing caution to the wind. Just saying it as it is. I mean, if they have the balls to ask all those rude questions, I should indulge them with the truth. It will be impossible to pigeon hole me anyway….just where on the status ladder does one place an erotica writing witch anyway?