I’m participating in the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest, wherein participants will blog on various subjects over the course of four weeks. The first week’s post is to be on the best responses one has gotten when one has told others that one is a writer, or if one even tells others one is a writer.
As I’ve mentioned, even though I’ve been steadily writing since I was four years old and have been seriously writing books since I was about eleven, I gave up querying too quickly 10-11 years ago. I didn’t stop writing, but I just indefinitely postponed being published, or even trying to get published. The past is what it is, and we can’t change it. Just be here now, as it says in one the songs of side two of one of my favoritest albums, the amazing Living in the Material World.
So I started querying again, this time for Adicia’s story, this past spring. I worked at a local newspaper at the time, and my boss (the editor) was kind of amazed when she found out not only that I’d written a book, but that was far from the first book I’d ever written, and that it was such a long book. (Adicia’s story is around the length of The Brothers Karamazov in terms of word count, to give you a picture in your head.) She was also rather surprised when she heard about my superlong Russian historical novel, which comes in just a bit shorter than Anna Karenina.
Here I’d been so studious, serious, intellectual, and quiet the five years I was there, and people come to find out I’ve been a writer the whole time. Not only that, but that I write long sagas and series with lots of books. (I suppose I make up for the short length of my Atlantic City books by how many of them there are in most of the series!) It’s the same response a lot of other people have given me, being shocked to find out how much I write or how deep my writing can be. One of the professors I had when I was at the local community college for early childhood and education classes some years back expressed similar surprise when she started reading my homework assignments.
They’re all surprised because I’ve been saddled with the inescapable label The Quiet One. Trust me, once that label’s been hung on you, you can’t get away from it. It sticks to you, and people assume certain things about you. This makes it even more fun to show them that still waters run very deep, and that you have what it takes to be taken seriously. And I have four words for anyone who doubts what a Quiet One is capable of: All Things Must Pass. One of the greatest albums of all time, my second-favorite album, came from a Quiet One whom everyone had underestimated and ignored for years. How’s that for quiet people not having much to say!
It depends who knows I’m a writer. I think most of my immediate family knows, and some friends. It’s just not something I feel the need to go around sharing, though I do like how some of my friends at my wonderful shul (where I’ll be going to later this evening for their weekly Torah studies) frequently ask how my writing is going, if I’ve gotten any responses from querying yet, or if I need assistance in things like conversion software or critiquers.
And when I’ve told people about Adicia’s story, I’ve been glad to tell them about the real-life story that inspired it. I’ve been kinda surprised at how many people had never even heard of the song “Rag Doll,” but I guess I take these things for granted since I’ve always been so into music, films, and books of the past. Even the band I’ve been listening to a lot of as the soundtrack for writing my Russian novel sequel has now been around for 30 years, which makes me feel extremely old! Bands from my childhood aren’t supposed to be so old they’re eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dammit!