If You Are A Writer, Call Yourself A Writer!

I was at a luncheon, where the speaker’s topic was “Becoming a Writer”.

During lunch, before the speaker spoke, the gentleman next to me asked:

“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer in my retirement,” I said, and all the other six people at the table suddenly looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“Are you now, and what do you write?”

“Non-fiction, short stories, blog posts and I’ve written three novels.”

“Anything published?”

“Two articles for a magazine a year ago. Now, I publish blog posts on the internet and I self-published three novels in three years.”

The chap smiled and said:

“Should you really call yourself a writer if you’ve only been at it three years?”

This guy was getting under my skin. The others at the table were waiting for my answer.

“Of course I’m a writer and I have a pile of rejection letters to prove it! Only writers who write and submit can get rejected. What do you do?”

“I’m a doctor.”

“That’s nice, nobody at this table is going to ask you to prove it!”

Everyone laughed.

“It’s interesting that writing is one of the few jobs where people put the “burden of proof” on you.”

“I guess it’s a form of identity,” one person across from me said.

“Yes, you’re right. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I am a writer”. It’s a way of interacting with and viewing the world.”

“I guess if you call yourself a writer, you have to write often, probably daily,” said the doctor, humbly.

“That’s right, a writer has to produce. Nobody will ever miss something you didn’t write. Writers have to create their own motivation.”

“You must have to discipline yourself to write,” someone said.

“Yes, a writer must have self-discipline. Writers are people who write!”

“What about writer’s block?”

Questions were coming from all directions now!

“Well, questions like the one the doctor put to me, “Should I call myself a writer?”, contribute to writer’s block!”

“What do you mean?”

“All writers have a little negative voice in the back of their heads saying:

“Are you really a writer, maybe you should put your pen down and walk away from the table.”

“Writers hear voices?’

“Yes, so do you, it’s the voice of self-doubt!”

Everyone at the table nodded their head.

“The doctor’s controversial question just fortifies that voice, which is the enemy of writers and really the enemy of all art.”

“Well, you sure know a lot about writing. I’m sorry I said what I did,” said the doctor, shaking my hand.

“Apology accepted.”

At that moment the M.C. announced:

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, our speaker: Writer Dave.”

The applause was deafening. I GOT UP AND WENT TO THE PODIUM!

P.S.-This post is the 206th on my blog: www.writerdave.com

Existential Crisis!

One day, when I was feeding the birds in the park, I realized everything I was doing and thinking about lately, was an existential crisis!

My friend told me not to worry:

“If you get up in the morning and then do what you want to do during the day, you can sleep easy because you are living right.”

I was still skeptical.

Just the other day, I was thinking: I was a living, breathing, fragile functioning persona that was going to die one day! That’s scary!

Someone called me an old git last week. Am I really a bitter old person? Am I having an “Old Age Crisis” also?

It seemed like I was questioning the very foundations of my life, whether it had any meaning, purpose or value!

I have experienced the death of loved ones and had traumatic events in my life. But things have come to a head now that I became a senior citizen. Now, I’m always looking for answers!

I’ve gotten very emotional recently. When I’m reading a book or watching a movie, I get tearful. Also, cemeteries have started to bug me. “I’m going to die,” I think. So now, I avoid cemeteries!

The other day I felt my heart skip a beat. Oh no, is it now, so soon? Hypochondria looms!

I’ve started reading existential novels and watching existential movies, in order to find answers. All these goings on was becoming like a “Dark Night of the Soul” or “Ego Death”! What can I do to handle this crisis?

My friend told me to “Anchor” onto something I could be passionate about, something to focus my attention on consistently.

So I started writing articles, short stories and novels full time. It worked and I’ve never looked back. In other words, I’ve created my own meaning and purpose in my later years.

My friend also told me, it’s important to have a sense of humor. So he told me a joke:

“Descartes is in a tavern having a beer. The bartender asks him if he would like another. “I think NOT,” he says and disappears in a puff of smoke.”

“Very funny,” I said.


The Day I Met Nietzsche!

Imagination is a wonderful thing. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, this man was sitting opposite me in a large leather armchair. He had dark hair combed back in a sort of quiff. He also had an enormous walrus mustache and penetrating eyes. Good golly, I was staring at Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher I recently read about. He must be embedded in my subconscious!

“Are you Friedrich Nietzsche?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Can I ask you some questions? I’m in a state of confusion.”

“You may.”

“When you said, God Is Dead, what did you mean?”

“I meant, science has seen off the concept of God! The religious systems of thought that humans created to make sense of the world are gone.”

My jaw dropped!

“Mr. Nietzsche, does this mean that now, with his death, life is meaningless? I mean, God has been the source and keeper of all values and meaning for the world, so now what do we do?”

“Yes, my son, with God dead, you lose all that and with that all gone, yes, life is meaningless!”

“But, Mr. Nietzsche, what’s to become of us?”

He smiled beneath the monstrous mustache and said:

“Be brave, my son, after the death of God, you will be able to face the meaninglessness of the world.”

“But how?” I cried nervously.

“You will take responsibility for creating your own meaning and direction in your life.”

“That doesn’t sound easy to me,” I stammered.

“God has done the job for over 2000 years, so it will take a while for you to get the hang of it.”

“Mr. Nietzsche, sir, what is your Number One principle that I can use as a guide?”

“My Number One is, To Make One’s Own Laws For Oneself.”

“Oh, I see. Don’t become your Master’s shadow because the Master is dead.”

“By jove, you’ve got it! Be Master of your own shadow! You, and you alone, are Master of your destiny. Set your own goals and create your own meaning.”

“I feel better already,” I said smiling.

“Sure you feel good. You will become an “UBERMENSCH”. A man in control of your own world.”

“Sounds good to me,” I said, expanding my chest.

“I hope some of your confusion is gone, my son.”

“Oh yes sir, by the way, what are your favorite sayings?”

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger, and He who has a WHY to live can bear any HOW.”

With that, Nietzsche disappeared.

I was left whispering to myself: