The other day, I mentioned in passing to a good friend of mine that I had been working on a writing project. She seemed quite surprised, and said, "Really? I didn't know you were a writer." To which I responded, "Oh, I'm not really. Its just a goal I've always had. To write a book." "You wrote a book?" she asked. "Well, not really. Because a book is a book, and its not really a book until its a book, right?" I stammered back. Because books are things that impressive people write, not the 315 page document that is currently existing on my Google Drive, waiting for my attention.
Randomly over the next several weeks, I found my own words haunting me. Pricking my heel and selling me short by my own hand.
I have loved to write for as long as I've known how. When I was a kid on the playground, if I wasn't pretending to be an injured snow tiger (yes, I'm being serious, and yes, there are photos), I was writing. I wrote nonsensical stories when I was young about beads or invisible magenta kittens. I wrote about my secret crushes when I was in middle school, turning them into characters and carefully disguising them by turning their names backwards (yes, I really did think that would work). I write. I have always written. But does that make me a writer?
I tried to come up with a comparison, to help me figure out if I am an "er" or if I just partake in the verb. I started with running. You can run without being a runner, can't you? Or can you. Does everyone who laces up their shoes and puts their feet on the pavement deserve the title of 'runner'? I sing in the shower, but my dog and every neighbor I've ever had can tell you that my singing doesn't make me a singer. You can do something without being an "er" of it. So where does the "er" come from?
For me, I think there has always been an association between success at an activity, and being able to claim that you are an "er" of that activity. I play soccer weekly, and have for more than five years, but that doesn't make me a soccer player. Just ask the keeper who I shot on last week (hint- he was the keeper for my team). I might like to write, but I won't be a writer until I make something of myself. Until I am an "er"by the world's standards, I'm not an "er" at all.
I'm starting to think that I have things drastically and terribly backwards.
I think that its time that I give myself license to claim the things that I love. The things that make my heart beat and that roll around in my brain when I don't ask them to. Just because I'm not the best at something, or even if I'm not good at something at all, I need to give myself permission to be an "er," if it is one of the things that exist at the core of my being.
I may not be a soccer player. Though I do own the good tall socks.
I am certainly not a singer outside of the acoustics of my bathroom.
I will likely never be a painter, despite my professor's very best efforts.
But I AM a writer.