Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Attitudes

Today I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for about a year.

She said to me, “Are you still writing?”

I’ve had this question put to me many times in my life.  I don’t think the question is asked of anyone but people in the arts.  Sometimes it even comes from people who are in the arts.  An actor once asked me this.

But the best one was an old editor of mine who I bumped into in an elevator.  The elevator was in a building where the publishing company was located.

Are you still writing, Sandra?”

No, Roger” I said.  “I’m a brain surgeon now.”

He didn’t blink because I don’t think he was listening to my answer.

Why do people ask this question?  I think if you’re a writer, painter, etc. people don’t take what you do seriously.  They don’t think it’s work.  They view it as if it was a hobby.  They can’t equate arranging words on a paper or putting paint on a canvas as work.  Especially writing, because everybody writes. And an awful lot of people think they can write more than a letter if only they had the time.

A man I know who had been sick said, “I wouldn’t have gotten through my illness if I hadn’t had mysteries to read.  Now that I’m better I’m going to write one to give back what I’ve gotten.”

I wanted to pop him one, but I didn’t.  Even I have restraint at times.  Afterall, he’d been sick.

Today when I was asked the question I said, “I’m taking a little break now.”  And I didn’t ask her if she was still practicing law.  

8 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I get asked this question all the time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wish I did.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

They might as well ask if you're still breathing. For a writer, it amounts to the same thing.

Picks By Pat said...

I think when you get a question like this, the person really means to ask, "Have you published anything lately?".

After all, isn't that what they really want to know?

Patti, that was a good one!

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Pat, you're a kind man. I don't think that's what they mean. When someone wants to know that he says, "Are you writing anything new?" "Have you published anything lately?" isn't nice either. But at least it doesn't imply that writing is playing in the sand.

Jess said...

I hate it when people ask me if I'm still writing. Maybe I'll just say 'no' next time.

MTA said...

On, I understand and I thank you for speaking painters.
Its your blog, and about me here does not occur.
I am glad that you reappar.
You're right, usually the people who ask this question does not wait answer. And some do by friendship even though they does not understand the absurdity of the question.

Jess said...

Hey, Sandra, everything okay with you? Just wondering if you saw this review:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/
hairballs/2008/10/book_review_a_collection_of_fe.
php

Hope you can cut and paste and get there with this link.