On Twitter today the hashtag #WordsThatDescribeMehas been trending. I wanted to post something in response, but was having trouble choosing the right words.
Then I decided I wanted to put “writer” and that in itself caused a minor existential crisis which I, because I am Generous (a good word) wanted to share with you, Constant, Inconstant and On-The-Offchance Readers alike.
A couple of people have been kind (or indeed perspicacious) enough to point out that although I constantly bang on about writing fiction I haven’t really provided any evidence of activity here to back it up, save for a rather unfortunate parody poem.
Yes, I do really truly genuinely write actual stories. Honest. It’s rather unfortunate really: once the tap’s on, the drivel just keeps flowing out, mostly unchecked and certainly almost always unedited. I even enter contests, though I’m rarely successful: I got a runner-up mention a few years ago. (It was without doubt the best thing that had happened to me for ages.)
I also freely admit to being a fanfiction author and generator of more ridiculous fanart than any sane person would want to shake a stick at –
(what do you mean, a sane person wouldn’t go around randomly shaking sticks? Shame on you. Shame.)
– but that’s equally not an admission as such, because anyone can find my fan stuff easily enough using Google (other search engines are available) should they so desire.
But the original stuff, what one laughably refers to as “the real stuff”, well, now, that’s different. I’m as prissy as an old maiden aunt about it. (or possibly the Queen. “One” refers to? Get it together, ETG) I rarely share it with anyone. In fact I can currently think of only four living people who have suffered through having my original works inflicted upon them. Four people. And yet I gladly give up the fanstuffs to the untold anonymous millions on the internet.
(In case you’re wondering, I haven’t knowingly inflicted my original works on dead people, either. Unless some of you have become zombies when I wasn’t looking, in which case, I’m heading for the Isle of Wight and I’m carrying a baseball bat, so no designs on my brain)
Why is that, I wonder?
It’s not because I’m ashamed of my original work. Nor is it because I’m harbouring a truly genuine belief that anything I write will ever be worth selling – hope, yes, but not belief. It’s more because, as I was rambling on about in my previous entry, they feel more personal. It’s like the difference between having your scarf fall off in public and having your trousers fall down in public. And you see, people are likely to pick up your scarf and hand it back to you.
(If they try and pick up your trousers, they’re probably either a very weird, specialist thief or a fetishist. Each to their own.)
This is why I’d think I’d be pretty damn bad at trying to market anything original I write. Basically, in my head, I’d be standing there holding my trousers up with one hand while trying to convince someone to buy them. It’s just not a scenario a sane person would wish to contemplate.
But this doesn’t change the basic fact that when I want to describe myself I want to say “writer”, because when I write I am more centred than I ever am in any other area of my life, save perhaps when I draw.
And sometimes that definition is a little bit personal, and sometimes it’s not.