About My Words

About My Words

“Are you really a writer?” the grey haired clerk in the shop asked me one balmy Friday afternoon as I dashed in to stock-up on a few needed flours before I collected my husband from work.

I stood awkwardly at the counter wondering how to answer her, but more curious as to why she’d asked me that question in the first place when her phone bleated out and I was saved, momentarily, from having to answer the question.

In that reprieve I realised I was wearing my purple writing shirt, the one my husband had purchased for me that loudly declares that if I’m acting spacey, lost in my own thoughts, or carefully studying you not to be alarmed, the person wearing the shirt is just a writer.

When the clerk returned to the register to finish weighing and tallying my order up she asked again, “So, are you really a writer?”

I always feel odd answering this question, because I think to most people being a “writer” means you’ve published a book, so I answered, “Yes, I am. Although, I don’t have a book published if that’s what you mean.”

A single grey eyebrow rose above her colourful pink glasses as she takes my bank card to swipe through for payment, “So what you do write? I mean, could I find what you’ve written and read it if I wanted to?”

“You could, I’ve written reviews for a well known homeschooling website. I maintain a blog, generally down the same line of thinking, and have had a few short stories published here and there over the years. I also write a novel length piece most Novembers when I participate in National Novel Writing Month.” I realised, as I was putting my various bags of flours into the grocery bag I brought, that I’ve said more in a single sentence to this clerk than I have to most people about my writing adventures.

I do write, I write often, but am I a writer? I have many people who call me an author, yet I’m often reluctant to put on that title myself. I find this a difficult question to answer, even though it’s asked quite often.

I don’t even think I can honestly say that I always loved writing, after all, writing in school is not the same as writing stories for fun. There are all the rules of grammar to follow that can never be broken, you are often assigned topics to write about, and the process is entirely different.

I can admit though, that I have always had a wild imagination, and one day I decided to take that active imagination and turn it into something of worth. Thus began the long year of writing a novel length story.

I’m not sure if I ever gave a title to that work of fiction, but I do recall long hours sitting on my bed working on a cross-stitch project or staring out over the apple tree and up the mountain as I worked that story out in my mind. Which means I told myself that story right to the bitter end.

I asked for a typewriter that year for my birthday, and Dad found me an electric one. Royal Blue, I think. I set it up on a card table in my bedroom and spent many hours typing away. I read writing magazines, wrote to various people asking research questions, and even attended a writing seminar at a nearby university.

I took the advice of one of the speakers to heart, and ran out to buy a small handheld tape recorder that would allow me to record my story so I had a backup of my manuscript.

I entered the first chapter of that story into a writing contest that year, and while I didn’t win anything other than some comments from the judges that they felt the opening of the story was just a little too mysterious, it didn’t deter me from finishing that story.

I have written several more novel length works of fiction, many of them unfinished, some missing titles, others that are still being researched. Since then I’ve taken a writing course, married an amazing husband who encourages all my writing adventures, participated in a half dozen NaNoWriMos, put writing on hold as I raised two incredibly amazing boys, moved across the world… twice, cared for my mother-in-law through her fight with dementia, and fell in love with writing all over again.

Maybe someday I will actually complete one of those many novel length works and share it, but for now my writings are contained within this website.