I’mpublishedI’mpublishedI’mPublished!

Well, sort of.  Here’s what happened.

I went to an awesome writing camp, Wordsworth (at Camp Kiwanis in Bragg Creek) and wrote some poetry, among other things which aren’t worth mentioning because… they sucked.  (Side-note- I actually didn’t pay anything to get into this camp; I came in runner-up in this years Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award for “Xanthophobia”, my humourous short story, which was supposed to be published somewhere, on the web and in a magazine.  I haven’t found either.  But they did let me in the camp for free, which was pretty sweet seems as it costs, like, five hundred dollars.) 

Anywho, at the end of camp, we were asked to put some of our work into a box.  I’m going, “Meh, sure, whatever you say camp director lady.”  So, I put some poetry in.  Then, I hear that they’re compiling a book from it to be sold from stores.  Honestly, that didn’t really register to me until I was mailed a book, a real book with a cover and binding and everything, which had my poems in it!  That was an incredible feeling, for me anyway.  People were actually going to read my work in an actual book.  Sure, there were only my three super short poems amongst the whole thing, which was quite thin in the first place, but still.  Of course, this got me thinking, “What loser sits around reading amateur poetry some kids wrote in camp?”  I suspect the book won’t be very popular, which wasn’t as disappointing as it sounds, mainly because I wasn’t getting any money from this anyway.  But at least I was getting my name out there, and years from now, when I’m Steven King, J.K. Rowling, and James Patterson all rolled into one, people will look back and say, “Look!  Her first publication!  How… cute.”

Now, though, I have an important decision to make about the way I view myself.  I’ve always defined the difference between a writer and an author as an author has been published and a writer may not have been.  Am I an author now?

I’m thinking no.  My intuition tells me that would be a rather premature decision.  As I said, I’m not getting paid for this AT ALL and so, I don’t really feel like an author.

So, I’ve decided to change my definition of author and writer.  A writer is one who writes as a hobby and an author is one who writes as a career.  These definitions make more sense, and are probably shared by more people.

(Although, technically, I am an author simply because I have written works, and that makes me their author.  This would mean that every person who’s ever attended school is an author.  Hardly.”

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Writers

So, here’s a metaphor of mine about writers, full of personification.  Maybe you think it’s stupid, maybe actual authors will read it and think it’s stupid.  It’s just how I look at things.

I imagine people walking down a busy street in a city.  And, above their heads, little birdy type things flutter .  These are Stories.

See, there are only certain people receptive to these stories, people who can see them, should they decide to reveal themselves.  “Fiction” Writers.  And, why would these stories reveal themselves to anyone?  For some unfathomable reason, they feel the desire, the need, to be told.  And they select the most apt Writer to do it.  These writers are the people born with a linguistic mind; and Stories are going to lean towards whomever has the best grasp on linguistics.  But that’s not all they’re looking for.  They want someone who can write their particular tale with style and flourish.  A fantasy Story would likely not choose a horror Writer, although sometimes one does get cool combinations…

And Authors will attest to this.  To seeing story ideas appearing from nowhere, to have them settle inside their minds and slowly weave a tale before them.  A newer Writer should be thrilled to have their first Story choose them, and an older Writer is plagued by them.

I like to imagine my Stories (and I do have a few) being very proud of me when I write something spectacular, or very disappointed when I write something… not.  I am trying to write it to the Story’s own standard, the way it was meant to be written.  I also imagine the stories starting the question whether or not they’ve chosen the right person when I don’t write for a while.  It keeps me writing, out of fear that the Story will change its mind and pick someone else, causing me to forget everything.  And, that would be terribly sad, for I would miss it most bitterly.  The Stories keep me company, and offer sanctuary when the real world is nowhere near as cool as it should be.  It also distracts me in math class, but you win some, you lose some.

I also think this metaphor helps me mentally explain why I’ve written what I have.  Because, I really don’t feel that I’ve “made it up”.  I feel that it just happened, and I recorded it that way.  I didn’t lay out the tracks for the train, I just followed it.  I mean, come on.  I could not have come up with something as awesome as I feel my Stories are.