“Who are you really?”
I am asked the burning question like some thousand times already.
“What do you do for a living?”
“Seriously, you are a writer?”
Such answer often confuse people, I’ve observed. But they believe me when I say so. That’s my wild guess.
I am serious about putting that question mark to end my answer, like offering a suggestion that I myself is not so sure.
Yes, I’ve written a lot. But I am also certain I’ve written not much. Just what I’d expect, I am already contradicting myself.
So back to the question.
A writer is a reader. Writers are readers. When they read, they seem to use a different lens. Writers are after the feelings, the sensitivity of the author, the vulnerabilities. They look out for links, the hidden meanings, symbols scattered like alerting traffic lights. A writer must be a reader first in order to write.
So that’s what writers do, who really is a writer like you?
He, the writer, could also be a thing, like a piece of clothing. Wear it and he becomes this clothe. Sometimes a writer is a polka-dot dress, sometimes striped polo, or a plain t-shirt. He sports so many colors, textures and cuts. The clothe becomes his door to a different side of wonder. But be warned: it’s not so sweet wearing this clothe after all. This clothe helps him assume so many different personas, to gain for him access to a different side of an alter-universe, and more. He’ll immediately get a sense of just what all these means. He’ll soon realize he will need to endure some sacrifices like conceiving or delivering a child. But once that something’s emerge – whether a few stanzas of poems, a long essay, and more – oh joy is incomparable.
So I’ll repeat the question.
If it is really me, the writer, you want to know, here is a typical pattern: someone like any ordinary person. He is someone who eats thrice a day, laughs at jokes or memes on the Internet, meets and socializes with friends. He visits coffee shops to spend few hours a day writing and sometimes to read few good books. He also visits his parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews, and relatives. Attending birthday parties and school reunions are part of his list as well. He religiously go for Church weekly pilgrims to offer thanksgiving, attend workship services and more.
Or maybe, you simply want to see me agree to stereotypes of what a writer is like or who a writer is. It’s a profile that you’ve already believed writers look like. And trust me, you’ll just end up disappointed by expecting something.
No. I am not what you thought the common perceptions about what being a writer is or means. I am also not like others who have built a reputation for themselves, characters akin to that of rock stars or some with celebrity statuses. I don’t smoke, drink and go hard and wild partying at night. I also don’t feel troubled, suicidal or even thought to be belonging in an elite class status. And am thankful to God for these good reasons that I am not.
And I also don’t feel like taking the credit for these works. Simply, I am nothing. I only create what my Master would so permit and willed me to accomplish. I am only after His mercy. As a Christian, as a writer, my motivation and my inspiration may surprise you. It’s the best advice ever, said by the Wise Man for someone like me.