Alice, murder, and the big ‘O’

When people I’m not familar with learn that I’m an author, I’ve noticed a certain look that comes into their eyes. A genuine curiosity, and, most often, a tilt of the head or the narrowing of the eyes that suggests, even if for a moment, they’re trying to see inside my brain. To see how I do it. Okay, so not all people. But, to some, being an author is a neat, mysterious enterprise. To others, they don’t care as long as I pick up the dry cleaning and make sure their favorite hoodie got put in the wash.

So to illustrate my point. I’ve got a few interesting examples that made me reflect on some of the ways strangers, aquaintances, and Those Who Must Live With Us perceive The Author.

Let’s just get it over with and start with the Big O. You all know which one I’m talking about, right? In any other situation if my Significant Other looked over at me (as I was tapping away at the computer keyboard, chatting with another man) and had the following conversation, it might have led to some serious relationship woes:

SO: “Who are you chatting with?”
KG: “My editor.” 
SO: “About what? Everything okay?”
KG: “Yeah, we’re just going back and forth on the merits of an orgasm. For a scene. In the book. Not sure of this should occur now, or later in the series, or at all…”
SO: “Oh, okay.”

He shrugged and went back to watching television. That was one of those moments where it struck me how odd my job can be sometimes, and how the imaginary worlds and characters that claim so much of my time are accepted by those closest to me. Rewind to another day when S.O. called me on the way home from work:

SO:  “Hey, what are we having for dinner?”
KG: “What? Dinner? I’m not thinking about dinner right now. I am in a warehouse with a dead body. I will have to call you back.”

‘Course I wasn’t physically in that warehouse. I was snuggled on the couch with the laptop writing, but in most every other way that’s where I was. Dinner? Bah. Dinner could wait. And it’s really cool that I’ve got people around me who ‘get it’.

However, not everyone gets it. Not everyone knows I’m an author. Sometimes I forget this. So I would strongly advise that if you are sitting at a busy library, writing notes as fast as they come to you in black magic marker, that you close your notebook before you dart away to the research section. Don’t leave it on the table. Open. Where you have scrawled: ALICE CROMLEY MUST DIE!! across the page.

This might lead to someone pointing you out to the librarian, and then being asked by said Librarian if you are “okay”. If everything is “all right”. 

Funny thing is, though, once you explain. Have a good, slightly embarrassed, laugh, there it comes. That narrowing of the eyes. That curious light. That mysterious air my job evokes in some people… It’s a reaction I love.    

So, what about you guys? How do the people around you react to your imagination and thought processes? To learning you’re a writer?

12 Responses to “Alice, murder, and the big ‘O’”

  1. 1 Terri-Lynne
    February 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Other Person: Oh, you’re a writer?
    Me: That’s what I do with my time, yes.
    OP: Published?
    Me: Still working on it.
    OP: Oh.

    And that’s when the curious light in their eyes goes OUT!

  2. February 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Terri-Lynne! Can’t tell you how many times I have experienced that one, too. Though, sometimes I’d get interets. You know, the ‘what do you write?’ questions, or the ‘I write, too!’ comments. Even now that I’m pulished, I still get reactions of a not interested type, which is perfectly okay. I do so love finding the interested ones, though. So nice to meet someone who loves to read and/or write fiction. I met someone recently who just looked at me and told me I was weird. I asked him why I was weird, and he said because of the crazy shit going on my head. (And I don’t believe he was joking). LOL. I like being weird. 😀

  3. 3 Terri-Lynne
    February 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Ah, and then there’s the old:
    “Really? What do you write?”
    “Oh…you mean like porn?”

    That’s always fun. Sometimes I say yes.

  4. February 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    OMG. Really? I have not gotten that one before, thank God. Where is all this porn in fantasy? I must not be reading the right ones, LOL. 😀

  5. February 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Hmm. Maybe I should write one. 😀

  6. 6 Terri-Lynne
    February 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I can’t seem to find the porn in fantasy either, dang it! 🙂 If you write one, you could start a trend!

  7. February 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Haha! I just realized that there I was talking about adding an orgasm into my book in my post… Perhaps I am naturally inclined to this very sub genre!

  8. 8 Terri-Lynne
    February 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Hahahahhahaaa! I didn’t even realize!

  9. February 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I wrote a short story for a contest.

    SO: Did you write this yourself?

    Me: Yes

    SO: It’s really good.

    Me: Thanks

    SO: Dark… but good. Aren’t you afraid of people finding out what’s in your head?

    Me: NO

  10. February 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    ::giggle:: I’m actually not in a relationship right now, but have had the same conversations before. It takes a rare and special person to love a writer!

    I get the weird look too, when I mention I’m a writer. What kills me is when people rattle off a list of types of writers they think I am, before I have time to answer the question. Like:

    Other Person: A writer, huh? Let me guess: you write romance.
    Me: Well, not really, although —
    OP: Oh, I heard there was a lot of money in that. Well, you’re a serious person, you must be a nonfiction writer. Didn’t you say you teach at a university?
    Me: Yes, but I’m not a professor, and I teach —
    OP: Are you a poet? You look like a poet. (For some reason I get this line a lot.)
    Me: …No. I write science fiction and fantasy.
    OP: ::deeply confused look:: …Oh. Okay. ::usually wanders off, still confused::

    I still don’t know what makes me look like a poet. Whatever.

  11. February 11, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Melissa – I’ve had a similar conversation with my S.O. The first time he read something of mine, he seemed rather shocked that I’d written the story and that it was good. LOL.

    N.K. – I always get the ‘you don’t look like a writer’ comment. Like, what exactly is a writer supposed to look like? That one always makes me laugh. But, yes, I agree: It takes a special person to love a writer! Today, I actually raided the liquor cabinet, cornered my hub, and made him take a drink of Bombay Saffire (wasn’t bending his arm, lemme tell you) and explain to me what he thought it tasted like. I’m always asking him things out of the blue.

  12. 12 di
    February 12, 2010 at 3:32 am

    N.K.: It’s the whiskers. They are very poety whiskers.

    If I say I’m a writer I get people telling me about how they are going to write their book any day now. If it’s someone I really like I suggest that we could be writing buddies if they need encouragement. They usually look at me cross-eyed and mutter some excuses.

    It’s not the idea of a writing buddy that bothers them – I’m very mild and non-threatening – I think it’s the idea of writing. Actually putting themselves into the chair and picking up the pen or getting out the keyboard isn’t anywhere on their agenda.

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