I write, but I don’t necessarily identify as a writer. However, I am susceptible to pain. So, if tortured I might confess to it.
But seriously, writing is not a vocation for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, and it’s a crucial part of my life and who I am. I even live a rather disciplined “writing life,” writing for at least an hour every morning, often longer. But if I miss a day or two I don’t freak out.
I once was a librarian, but I didn’t identify with that either. Perhaps it’s not writing or librarianship itself that is the issue. Perhaps it’s my problem with identity. I just don’t think any one thing I do consumes me. And I admit to being a tad jealous of those who are consumed by a passion. My son is a musician and has no problem identifying with that. And it fuels his life.
On the other hand, I’ve met people who have published one haiku, or the equivalent, and call themselves a writer. They use the writer’s identity because they see it as more glamorous than flipping burgers or selling insurance. At parties, they tell handsome men or beautiful women they are writers. Maybe they go home with someone. I know plenty of people who think writers are mysterious folk, and that the profession has allure. And it does, but perhaps only to people who are not writers. To writers, it means a lot of time sitting alone erasing things you’ve just written. And currently for me, working in a cold basement.
Over the course of my life, 72 now, I have had many identities. I have been a son and a father and now a grandfather. I’ve been a student, explorer, nature lover, hippie, biologist, landscaper, web designer, librarian, academic, book nerd. And yes, a writer. Now I’m a retired guy letting my granddaughter, a wonderful five-year-old child named Imogen, guide me through her world. And what an amazing world it is. And it changes so rapidly. I’m learning through her that identity is fluid. That if one looks at it too hard it moves on.
Maybe someday I’ll write about it.