Saturday, January 8, 2011

You Might Be A Writer If...

I read this article by Lisa Shearin in the latest edition of The Writer magazine. She calls this a homage to Jeff Foxworthy's classic comedy routine "You might be a redneck if..." and I had a lot of "Holy Frak! That is so me!" moments so I thought I should share it with all of you. I am not reprinting her entire article, just the funny, funny highlights. (Her words are the italicized numbered lines.) Not all of these apply to me but enough of them do that I think I just might be a writer. How about you?

1. You keep a pen and pad of paper next to your bed- and the stove, and the couch, and the dining room table, and the toilet and the...

Yes. I do this. I have pens and pads of paper everywhere and I am fiercely protective of each and every one. Just ask the girls at work. They know better than to use any of my writing pens for anything as mundane as a replenishment list. They've all heard the "this is my special writing pen and you just used it to make a list of missing tee shirt sizes? Why do you hate me?" rant. Hard to imagine why they hate me.

2. You have a favorite punctuation mark.

Mine's the ellipsis...

3. You've been known to argue with someone on the usage difference between en and em dashes. I haven't done that. But I have been raging a war on the improper use of the apostrophe for quite some time now. Again, ask my co-workers. I'm sure they find my tutelage to be informative and constructive and not at all annoying or patronizing.

4. You're completely and utterly addicted to fountain pens. You have more bottles and colors of ink that you have pens, and use this as an excuse to buy more pens.

Wait...I'm supposed to have an excuse to buy more pens? But yeah, I am a little bit addicted to fountain pens. Especially the purple ones.

5. You get caught up in plotting your next scene and put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry.

Guilty as charged. I have also come home from the grocery store without having made a single purchase but in possession of an exciting new idea.

6. The salespeople at the local Staples know you.

Yes. They know me as the strangely obsessive pen hoarder.

7. While in Staples, you should never be left unchaperoned in the briefcase aisle. (One briefcase is never enough.)

Well, no. My problem is the pen and notebook aisle. They're so convenient placed, being right next to each other the way they are.

8. The stacks of your old manuscripts and rejection letters officially constitute a fire hazard.

So that's why the fire department keeps stopping by.

9. You desperately want Crayola bathtub markers, so you can write down the great dialogue that comes to you in the shower.

Do those exist? Because, yeah, I want some. I think Joe would like me to have some of those too, just so I'll stop yelling at him to get in the bathroom and take down dictation while I condition my hair.

10. All you want for your birthday are more fountain pens and journals.

That's true. Every year when I turn 25 (which is every year), those are the best gifts ever.

11. You don't take medication to quiet the voices in your head, but you get paid to write down what the voices say.

Also true. Well, except for that whole getting paid part.

12. If you didn't have book contract, you'd be writing anyway.

I refer you to #11.

13. You just know you're on an FBI list of people to watch because of the books you've ordered: books on poisons, how to dispose of a body, government conspiracies, secret societies, planning the perfect crime, espionage secrets...

I guess it's better than being on an FBI watchlist for other reasons, right?

14. Your surgeon orders your glasses taken away before you've finished memorizing the operating room for a scene in your next book.

Well, I never have had an operation but if I did, this would totally be true.

15. When you're not writing, you get this persistent twitch in your left eyelid.

Yeah. That and a serious bout of bitchiness.

16. You proofread your tweets and text messages before sending.

Not only is this true but those closest to me know to proof any texts they send to me because otherwise, I tend not to respond.

17. You take more writing paraphernalia on vacation than you do clothes- and don't mind if it rains.

Yeah. I do that.

18. You're taking to a real, living, breathing person and suddenly stop because one of your characters interrupted you.

That happened to me today in the Gator Girl's obedience class, actually. I know it probably comes off as rude but I love it when that happens.

19. You think sleep is way overrated. Who needs more than three hours, anyway?

Oh. My. God. It's like she's in my brain.

20. Your novels are backed up on your laptop, your netbook, your husband's computer, two thumb drives- and you're seriously toying with the idea of getting a safe-deposit box.

True. Except I don't have a netbook or, technically anyway, a husband. I also have backups at my brother's house and in my locker at work.

21. You don't mind extra-long waits at the doctor's office, because it gives you more time to write.

Yes, I probably am one of the few who is actually disappointed when my name gets called.

22. And, finally, you know you're a writer if you look at yourself and see a writer. Everyone else looks at you and sees an obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive insomniac with a pen fetish.

Really? Is that how y'all see me? Ah, well, it's certainly true enough with, God knows, more than enough corroborating evidence. Most of which was provided by myself.

Thanks, Lisa Shearin for writing such an entertaining and TRUE article!!