I had a pretty cool experience a few weeks ago. I still smile when I think about it. I was talking with a new friend when his wife walked up. He said, “Honey, do you know Larry Timm?”
She looked at me and smiled. “Oh, you’re an author, aren’t you?”
I was floored, and momentarily speechless (which is surprising to some people). An Author! A split second later, grinning like a gassy infant, I managed to say, “Well…um…I…I…that is…yeah, I’m a writer. I haven’t been published yet, though.” Then I giggled.
What a dork.
I’ll bet she walked away absolutely impressed with my command of the English language. But I still think about that moment with fondness (except for the grin and giggle). I’d never been called an author before. In public even! She seemed very positive about the entire idea. Like it was a compliment or something.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing is pretty cool. I liked hearing someone say the word. But can I claim to be an author before I’m actually published? I’m a writer, and I’m working hard to become a published author, but I haven’t experienced that honor yet.
What would have happened if I’d said, “Yes. I. Am. An. Author.”? Out loud. In public.
Many scenarios run through my over-active imagination: Like the police pulling me over later and saying, “Mr. Timm, you’re under arrest for impersonating an author.” And then they taser me just for the fun of it. Then I imagine being shaken awake and looking up into the eyes of my perturbed mother. She kicks dirty laundry into the only uncluttered corner of my boyhood room and says, “Wake up, son. You must have been having a wild dream. You were giggling like a nut, and mumbling author…author…author…shhhhh, they’ll hear you.” Then she hands me a paper towel. “Wipe that drool off your cheek, for Pete’s sake. By the way, I put the zit cream on your dresser. Get up and get dressed for school. And what’s that smell?” Or I see myself stretched out on a couch. Next to the couch, a stuffy looking lady with glasses is sitting in a padded office chair and looking down her upturned nose at me. There’s a diploma on her wall that says, “Dr. Ugotta B. Kiddinme, Doctor of Mental Stuff.” She slides her glasses off and taps her pen on the thick file perched on her lap. “Now, Laurence, we’ve been through this before–many sessions ago–you’re not really an author. Do we need to increase your meds?” Or I picture sitting rigid at a table, wires taped to my hand, chest, and head. A guy leans over a machine and stares at the lines being drawn on a paper. “Yes or No…are you an author?” I’m sweating under the overly large light bulb dangling above my head. “Yes or No, Mr. Timm? And, by the way, we’ll know if you’re lying…and man are you going to be sorry if you are.”
Soooooo, I’m needing some guidance here. I’d appreciate your comments.
Is there a difference between a WRITER and an AUTHOR?
What do you think about that question? I know that all authors are writers, but are all writers authors? And how did it feel the first time YOU were called an author?