I had to fill out an online questionaire the other day and one of the questions was --what is your occupation? I really wanted to say "Domestic Goddess" but thought that might not be suitable. "Domestic Engineer" as I do have my own power tools, but then again, no. I'm a stay at home mother, who can build things and is not afraid of climbing ladders. I can mix cement, and lay flooring, hang sheetrock and cedar shingles. I know the difference between joint compound and spackle. I can prune trees, trim shrubs and grow just about anything. I can even make dirt.
I can also sew, mend, crochet, bake, cook, type, repair broken toys, broken hearts and broken videos, scoop doggy poop, get rid of stains, build a perfect fire in the fireplace, am an expert in the placement of band-aids, can conserve money, energy, gas and water, help my friends, forgive my enemies, and sometimes see into the future.
But still, what is my occupation? I didn't want to say stay-at-home-mom. And I am not knocking that profession at all, no way, no how. I think stay at homers should make at least $20-$35 per hour. It's hard work and a dirty, ungrateful job most of the time. I mean, I do it too. But that's not what I am.
I am a writer. I finished writing a novel. Yes, I looked in the mirror and said to my reflection "I am a writer." (Janet Reid and Davin Malasarn at the Literary Lab both had posts on this, funnily within weeks of each other last year. Coincidentally, just as I finished with Masquerade.)
Now, some could say, I am a pre-published author, but I will not use that term. I think it's cheating. It's like pre-cooked bacon. Sure you could eat it cold out of the box, it's been cooked, but yuk, heat it up again. "Pre-published" is like "domestic goddess". We are all goddesses (with the exception of the men -- who would then be referred to as gods but we don't want their egos blowing up all around us now do we), hence, we are also all pre-published.
Then I had the most amazing, fantastical, mind-blowing thought -- I could be a novelist. Ooooh, doesn't that sound rich? And fancy, and so F. Scott Fitzgerald-ish. So I looked it up in The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary -- "novelist - a person who writes novels." Hey, wow, look at that. Isn't that what I do? I write romance novels. So couldn't I call myself a novelist then? And well, yes, yes I did. I finished filling out the questionaire and I wrote down novelist where it says occupation. How much fun was that?
I'll tell you what, it changed my way of looking at the world. I used to be a writer. I could write all day long and it was pretty good. Now that I'm a novelist, well, let me tell you about the sky, or the flowers, or the great dialogue I had with a friend. Even the air smells better. I could be channeling Hemingway. Okay, maybe it's not all that. But it is kind of fun if you think about it.
The question today gentle readers, is, which are you -- writer or novelist?