i used to write novels. romance novels specifically, and most of them are under the name vivian leiber. but i can’t tell you the number of times that people have used the words “real writer” with me. as in “oh, you write romances? i thought you were a real writer” or “when are you going to be a real writer?” and then there was the lady who told me that i wasn’t a real writer but she was because she was taking journaling classes at the university of iowa. i would like to believe we’re all real writers because whether it’s a thank you note to grandma for those wool socks or a twenty volume history of the peloponnesian wars, we’re putting ourselves out there.
BUT i was having dinner with libby fischer hellman (f2fb#7)… and she’s a REAL writer. or at least what i think of as a real writer. i knew her only slightly because her daughter went to school with my older son. and i harbored an odd feeling towards her. i’m not sure if it was envy or admiration–and those two emotions might just be the same thing.
she writes mystery novels and when i met her for dinner, i hoped she was going to tell me how to write a mystery. in other words, how to be a real writer. and i also wanted her to tell me how to get elmore leonard, our mutual facebook friend, to pay attention when i ask him to meet me.
instead, i was surprised to find out that she gets that “real writer” stuff all the time too. and she’s a very very cool chick and when we parted i realized i still had that envy/admiration thing going but it wasn’t because she’s a “real” writer–it’s because she’s a cool chick!
p.s. tomorrow–stripper lessons and packing for the first trip–maybe chris redmond will teach me basketball, the princesses of urbana and bloomington will host me, i’ll learn about railroads from a facebook friend i’ve only met once in my life.
p.p.s. visit libby’s website at libbyhellmann.com and tell her i sent you!
January 13th, 2011 at 4:19 pm
It could be worse. When I was a writer I’d get calls from my parents saying “Would you drive me to the doctor’s office? You’re a writer, you’re not doing anything.”
January 13th, 2011 at 9:38 pm
the problem is that too often i’m not actually doing anything!