I am a writer. The statement should make me feel proud. Yet, every time I am asked what I like to do, I always find myself hesitating. I finally blurt out, “I like to write!” My confession is met with one of two responses:
- “Oh, that’s so cool! What kind of stuff do you write? Can I read it?”
- Cue Laughter. Cue cruel and horrible jokes.
A long time ago, I was privileged enough to have only known about the first answer. It was a blessing to my writerly esteem. But yet, I was naïve. I was annoyed when people probed into my work, trying to get me to share it, and give it to them to read. Now, I’d be happy to get asked those questions.
Of late, more often than not, I am met by Option Number Two. People thinking my writing is a joke. That it’s a job for people lower and lesser than them. Nowadays, whenever I think something is cool, I am met with the same response:
[laughter] “Oh, you should write a blog post on that!” [everyone else laughs, too]
Excuse me, but I am a writer, thank you very much. Do you like The Fault in Our Stars? John Green is a novelist… Otherwise known as a writer. Do you not like books much? That’s okay. What about movies? Plays? Acting? We bring you all of those things. The person that wrote [insert famous actor here]’s lines? She’s a writer, too.
Yet us, the writers, are shoved in hovels of the lowest confidence, treated like jokes, nerds, things to be made fun of. Any one of us could be the next J.K. Rowling. Any one of us could be the next Steven Spielberg. Or we could be doing whatever it is that those people who mock us think is “cool.” Whatever you do, we are told, being a writer is never cool.
And yet we choose the printed word. The ink on paper. We choose the difficult option. We know we will be ridiculed. We know we will be questioned looked at, scorned, even. But let me tell you one thing: being kicked around like a person’s plaything, a joke, is very, very hard.
If you’re a writer, maybe you’ll get what I mean. If you’re lucky, you won’t. I hope it stays that way.
If you’re one of those people, I do hope you understand now. If you don’t, I only have this to say to you:
I am a writer, thank you very much. And I am very proud.
This issue has recently become a huge problem for me, and I want it to stop being a problem for others. When I try to do what I love, people keep making fun of me for it; write a blog post about this, write a blog post about that, maybe even write a novel! Imagine being in my place. Ridiculed for telling people what you love to do. Maybe you will laugh it off, like I do every time. But it is not “affection” or “tough love.” It hurts, a lot, when someone makes a joke out of something that you hold dear to you. I have been in several situations in which I have been made fun of for wanting to write: people calling it too nerdy or geeky, or just making fun of it for no good reason. I have been driven to the verge of tears before, and, in fact, over it a few times. I’m not a good artist, I’m a mediocre musician, and I just don’t want to act, to list a few things. Writing is one of the few things I am both decent in and love, so please: don’t take that away from me. I know there are a lot of others in the same situation in me. Whenever you hear someone making fun of you, remind yourself: This is what I love. This is what I do. This is what I dream of. Look them in the eye, and tell them: “I’m a writer, thank you very much. And I am very proud.” And if there’s one thing that Professor McGonagall has taught me, it is that “thank you very much” is the end of a conversation.