For years I’ve received the same question. It comes at me from different sources – sometimes surprising ones. People that I’d expect to have my back will toss it at me in a manner which I consider slightly disparaging. I may (and do) disparage myself quite frequently. I’d rather you not. I find it unnerving and, some might say, petty.
For years I’ve answered the question using the same phrase. I should probably come up with something eloquent that would leave the interrogator in a state of awe, blindsided by my brilliance. As it is, I leave them with befuddled brows. They chew the inside of their cheeks, wondering just what I meant. “She’s a tad touchy” running through their minds.
Yes, yes I am. I am a high-strung and temperamental fusspot. The question being posed time and again only reinforces my sensitive nature and makes me withdraw from those who seek me out, with it blistered on their lips. Yes, yes, you’ve asked me that before…
I am an author. I begin again this process called editing. While I enjoy the opportunity to revisit my characters, my old friends they’ve become, I feel the weight of the work that’s yet to be done. I know I can do it. I have done it time and again. This has dragged on for years now. I am the first to admit it. I am also the first to mock myself. Those who are not writers won’t understand this solitary existence – the hours spent staring at the monitor, fingers tapping away on keyboards so worn the letters have come off, our bums, growing ever wider, are now hermetically sealed to our chairs.
I am an author. I begin again with all my writerly feelings shaken, not stirred. Frozen in this little spot for the next several months – editing nearly 400 pages. I’ll cultivate new neuroses along the way. Stay tuned. My Tweets will lessen – becoming more severe and self-critical in nature. That is my prerogative. I excel at self-disparagement. I have few skills. That’s one. Do not disparage my self-disparagement. It’s the coal in my Little Engine That Could.
I am aware the question will be posed by many unfamiliar with the publishing industry. If you’re planning on being one of them, here, I’ve written out your question and my answer to save us both some time and irritation.
YOU: “You’re still working on the same book?”
ME: “It’s a book, not a greeting card.”
Be well, little Twitterverse.