The authors were in town as part of a school district project. Since winter, these writers—from poets to children’s nonfiction authors—have been helping local students grow their writing skills. The in-person evening was the culmination of the project, during which both the professionals and select students read their works to an audience mostly comprised of parents.
The main thrust of the evening was poetry. During some poems I laughed, during others I spaced out. Some were captivating, others were cryptic. The children’s poems were as entertaining as the adults’. It was an enjoyable evening and I’d love to see more like it.
It also highlighted to me how writing is such a hidden activity. Other than a couple of acquaintances in the audience, likely no one there knew I’m a writer too. As residents of a small town, they probably know my face, may know where I work, may know I’m a parent. But if they’re not at least Facebook friends with me, they won’t know I’m a writer.
Unlike these authors, I don’t have recent works I can talk about or display for sale on a table. Although I’ve published tons in the past, my current focus on novels has been a long, solitary haul, with nothing physical produced from it yet.
If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it still make a sound? If I write but no one reads it, am I still a writer?
Of course I know the answer is yes. I have no doubt I’m a writer; other than the everyday tasks of life, all I do is write. Being a writer isn’t about publication—it’s about process.
Maybe the next time the school district is looking for writers, I’ll get a chance to offer my services.