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?