There’s a certain romance to being a writer that’s set apart from all other professions, including the myriad of various artistic ventures one can pursue. There are many stereotypes of writers, from the intellectual brooding in the corner with a cigarette, typewriter and cup of coffee to the idealist sitting in the attic loft in front of a huge bay window with sunlight pouring in over a leather-bound journal and pen.
Despite that these are clearly a bit behind the times, the image perseveres. Inherently, it seems that one thinks of authors as lonely types, lost completely in their own worlds. Okay, well, this must be true on occasion, otherwise no one would get anything done, and yes, there are those writers that are recluses just as there are in any other profession, but surely there are some that interact with the rest of the world! Ideas have to come from somewhere and it’s on those excursions to the outdoors, to social functions and trips to the grocery store where writers come against the questions and scrutinizing eye of the rest of the population.
And then come the questions.
“Really? You’re a writer? What have you written—anything I would have heard of?”
“Can I read some of what you’re working on sometime?”
“Once I wrote an article for the school paper, you know. Everyone was talking about it.”
“Can you read something of mine?”
“It can’t be that hard, can it?”
And my new favorite, due entirely to this post on The Hairpin yesterday, “Oh I have a great idea for a book—want to hear it?”
The real-life conversations the author of this post has endured are listed therein and are worth a look. What has been the most harrowing or frustrating question or response posed to you after someone learns you fashion yourself a writer? Have you been privy to any “amazing” book ideas yourself?