I know that there are some of you out there getting to know me. That’s great, but for those of you who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. I am Elizabeth Michaud John.
I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a sister (an evil one, I readily admit, by the way–my idiot brother would quickly confirm this given the chance). I am a daughter. A friend. A cousin. An aunt.
I am also a teacher. A colleague. A worker. A supervisor.
I’m a lot of things, in fact. And on these pages, it’s not really hard for me to list them all.
I’m a Scrabble/WWF genius (suckas!). I’m a TV enthusiast. I’m a linguist. I’m a logophile (and yes, I’m going to make you look that one up).
The list goes on and on.
I’m an arachnophobe. I’m a traveler. I’m a sometimes chef (you’d better believe I can make a mean bowl of cereal).
And it keeps on going. I can tell you more, if you’d like (I’m going to assume that you’d like, otherwise you would’ve stopped reading already).
I’m a typist. I’m a joker. I’m a potty-mouth (yea, I love to fucking curse.) I’m also super-impatient.
It’s like the lyrics to that song by Meredith Brooks: Bitch. Hey, look, I’ve cued the song—how appropriate of me!
It’s a testament to the fact that I’m brilliant.
(We should take a moment to celebrate my first blog-related video post.)
I’m frequently a happy camper. But I can also be one sad little puppy. I’m quite often very sarcastic.
I’m an enigma wrapped in a conundrum (I love that expression).
But despite the ease with which I can profess all these things and others, there is one thing that is difficult for me to declare. Whenever I try to say it, I notice that I frequently pause, or the syllables stumble and trip coming out of mouth. It has three parts, and each is as difficult as the other.
Ahh, yes, well, there you have it. Easier to type at least.
There’s that other title, an extension of the first.
Whew–the last component! It’s like the holy trinity of writing-related titles.
When you get married, your status is accepted and cemented by that rite of passage. It’s easily proven, it’s readily verified. Or when you have a child, there’s no disputing the change in your biological status. Claim the child or not, you are and will forever be a parent. Or how about your paycheck? Every one you get clearly signifies that you are somebody’s employee. The stub that you’re left with and the surplus of cash in your bank account (however temporary) are all a testament to your working status.
It’s not hard to profess these things, because with little proof, they are easily accepted. No questions asked.
But when you write, and when you say you’re a writer, it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s weird, but as it turns out, just making that declaration out loud is not enough for people.
They need proof.
And even when they are given proof—a short story, a poem, a novel—it doesn’t mean that they’ll accept it. People do like to judge using a measuring stick that is not universal nor broad. Rather, everyone has their own particular qualifiers that they wield to determine if you are what you say you are: a master of words, a manipulator of rhyme and rhythm, a weaver of tales and suspense, a purveyor of fact and truth.
Or, in the absence of proof, there are the questions.
“You’re a writer? Really? What do you write?”
“How come I haven’t seen any of your books in the bookstores?”
“Oh, you write? Wow, you must have a lot of free time available.”
“Yea, so do I. I’m writing a book, too. I mean, how hard can it be?”
“Really? Why? Don’t you have a real job?”
And these precious jewels are just the tip of the iceberg. Is it any wonder why I sometimes stumble? I guess it’s because for me (although I’m sure this is true for anyone who writes) the storytelling process is so personal. With every word you leave on the page, you leave a little piece of yourself as well. I may write about monsters or murderers, ghouls or fairies, something sweet or something somber, but no matter my voice or my character, the plot or circumstance, I leave some of my soul on those pages. So for someone to dismiss my work so summarily, it’s a little heart-wrenching.
So sometimes I don’t profess that I’m a…well, you know.
But what I have come to realize over time is that like with anything, there will always be someone to stand in your way and say that you are less than you are. That what you do has no value. That the blood, sweat, and tears that you pour into your desired craft are a waste of the time that God himself gave you. Eventually, it has come to me that as I work to make my mark in the literary world, there are people that will always need proof, they will always ask the dreaded questions, and no matter what I provide or how I answer, it will never be enough.
And so what is the lesson that I take from all of this? What has been my epiphany? To stand up and make my claim. Don’t stumble, trip, or fall. Speak up and speak loud, and profess it all.
I’M A WRITER. I’M A POET. I’M AN AUTHOR.
Did I also mention that I’m sort of BADASS???????
Note: Of course, what I’m saying here doesn’t apply to everyone. There are those who will readily accept and believe when I say I’m a writer. Those are the ones—however few—that have a never-ending faith. That believe without end. They steadfastly give their support, so I most certainly am not discrediting those good folks—as a matter of fact, I exalt them. Without them, I might not even be able to sit here and write this blog. So I thank them—they know who they are. 🙂