Last month, I attended a reading/signing at Print: A Bookstore so I could get a copy of Alexander Chee’s new book signed for a friend. I decided to get a copy for myself, as well. When it was time to sign mine he asked, “Are you a writer too?” As I’d explained that my friend had very vividly expressed Chee’s influence on their writing, perhaps he thought, “Only another writer would understand this well enough to go out of their way to make sure this personalized book made it into their writer friend’s hands.” Or maybe most people who attend his readings are writers, looking for… I dunno, affirmation, agent connections, a personal reading of their MS. But in any case, I wasn’t prepared for the question. Unlike most questions that feel like they ask me to assign myself greater value than I necessarily think is permissible by gentle society’s standards, asking if I am a writer feels almost like a trick question. Because I am absofuckinglutely a writer. A good one, even. But not of novels. Not, as I vehemently asserted when Martín Espada asked, “Are you also a poet?” of poetry. “No! Noooooo, no I, uh, I mean. I write. but yeah poetry isn’t, I can’t, I don’t… [mumble mumble ad nauseam]”
But tonight, at this Stonecoast scholarship fundraising event, I had this moment when I felt like I have only a couple of times before in my life: I felt born again. I felt renewed and revived and like I knew what I was about.
I’m a writer.
This doesn’t change my path one iota, doesn’t even mean I feel like I need to change my major, but it gives me something I had let go of, allows me to feel competent while also pursuing new skills and knowledge.
So I’m going to try to write a little every day, hopefully in the early morning.
but for the moment, I’m going to sleep.