In the past, when people asked me what I did, I’d say, “Well, for a long time I was a computer programmer, and then I was a technical writer.” If they looked confused at that – and most did – I’d say, “I wrote manuals explaining how to use software,” and they’d nod, whether they understood or not.
Then they’d ask, or I’d feel I had to add, “Now I’m at home and I write.” With raised eyebrows they’d ask, “What sort of thing do you write?” and I’d mumble, “Oh, different things.” Then came the inevitable question: “Have you had anything published?” to which I’d mumble, “A couple of short stories in anthologies,” as if they don’t really count – not because I think that’s true, but because they probably do. Their question probably meant, “Have you had a whole book published?”
Suddenly, everything has changed. Now when people ask me what I do, I say, “Ani soferet” – I’m an author. They look at me with wide eyes. “Wow!” And I smile and nod.
But something bothers me about all this. Was it the signing of a contract that turned me into an author? Surely I’ve been an author since I started writing. Why couldn’t I ever say that before?
On the other hand, I suppose I couldn’t say it because I’d have felt I didn’t deserve the “Wow!” that followed.