Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am a professional writer.

It's what I do. Using nothing but words, I can convince people to respond in a certain way.

I am a professional writer.

This occurred to me while on the treadmill today when, instead of reading my book, I was composing the opening sentences of one of the letters I have to get finished today.

I am a professional writer.

Back in the summer of 2008, my oldest friend dismissively told me she used the kinds of things I write "to light the grill." If that sounds bitchy, well, it was meant to. But she was in a bad place in those days, her life filled with lots of problems and drama and, I suspect, regret over her own long-ago career choices. After all, she has drawers filled with the beginnings of short stories and novels and memoirs and here I am, getting paid handsomely for being a hack.

But instead of being insulted, her comment got me thinking: there are cooks at coffee shops who will never win Top Chef, yet their skills make people happy every day. Somebody designed those argyle polos you can buy at Old Navy this week for $10; just because that person's name isn't as familiar as Isaac Mizrahi's doesn't mean his or her work hasn't touched the lives of tens of thousands of people.

I know I'll never be Lillian Hellman or even Lilian Jackson Braun. But what I do has value. It can, and has, been measured, as a matter of fact. I'm good at selling shit. When I'm firing on all cylinders, like I was at the health club, I enjoy it. If I'm not talented, then at least I am skilled. I have learned a lot and honed my skills over the years. And what I do for a living is, indeed, creative.

I am a professional writer.

3 comments:

  1. And it shows in your blog, too. Yes, you are a professional writer.

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  2. One day, one day I will say this too.

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  3. LOVE THIS! You are claiming your skill out loud and proud! I am tickled for you!!

    You *ARE* a writer and a professional one at that. :)

    And I love your every word.

    ReplyDelete