The biggest dilemma that I have faced is to answer a question in monosyllables.
‘How are you?’
Even a casual question like this can bring tears to my eyes on days that my toddler has really driven me up the wall or on nights when I lie awake dreaming of how much I have to accomplish in this life. ‘Fine’ seems like the most appropriate answer but I have never been one for propriety.
Another casual question like ‘Do you like tea or coffee?’ puts me in a conundrum. I’m not sure. Until a few years ago, I had neither. But tea was always the comfort provider. On days that I feel sick, I only go to tea. On other days, I like coffee…not for any particular reason but the fact that I have acquired a taste for it and well…there are days that are coffee days.
So when someone asks the life-defining question of ‘what do you do?’ I’m at my wit’s end wondering what to say. I have studied film direction but moved on to become a writer.
I wrote for television so when someone asks ‘what have you published’ I have to hastily admit, ‘Nothing but I’m on it because I’m working on a book.’ This response is usually greeted with ‘Oh how nice. Which book?’
I sigh and go on to explain it’s a middle grade fiction novel for children between 9-12 years.
At this point I’m beginning to hope that the listener is suitably impressed by what I do but when they meet me six months later and ask about the book, I still have the same response, ‘Er…you know it takes time. It’s a long process. You have to write, rewrite and then rewrite again…and it goes on.’
Six months later these same people have lost interest in my work and I but I take pride in being excited by the same idea that I had two years ago and I’m still working on it.
Making it better, day after day in the hope that some day this work will be read by millions outside who would nod at the inflection of a word in this line or the deliberate choice of a word in another.
There is that added dilemma of defining myself as a writer.
I’m not sure I’m there yet. Because I’m practicing everyday. I’m also not sure if I would be there in a book or two. Because when do you know you have arrived at ‘becoming’ something.
When does a teacher know he/she is a teacher? An accountant? A film-maker? A doctor?
Is there an epiphany that you have or is it a sort of coronation ceremony where a group of people decide that you are a writer.
Or is it a feeling within?
I will tell you About me the day I know who I am. For now, I’m just a work in progress…