A former smartass intern of mine (the lovely Emilie, aka Bangs) wrote a very nice and encouraging comment to my post from yesterday. “Writer for a living, yes. But, write because you have to, even more.” It’s a distinction I’ve made my entire life. Since I was a kid I’ve considered myself a writer above anything else. At its simplest, a writer is someone who writes. Daily. Not just in a journal, not just “Dear Diary, my teen angst has a body count,” (although that is one of the more intriguing sentences you might put down) but is someone who thinks about writing, walks around with stories in their head, wakes up in the middle of the night with a nagging sentence that has to come out or sleep ain’t much of an option. Since I was young that’s the way that I’ve been. When I graduated, I started carrying around mini binders that I could pull out when needed. I head over to coffee shops and will just sit and sip, watching and waiting for someone to strike a match in my head. I have 9 or 10 little books I’ve collected over the years, all filled with tidbits and ruminations on whatever passed through.
But when you set out to tackle this bullshit as a career, and I’m sure this is a sentiment my fellow bloggers would agree with, the definitions mangle themselves. There are writers, and then there are Writers. There are also classes of writers. Authors write books, and can pretty much be anyone. Plum Sykes is an author. She’s not much of a writer (or storyteller, for that matter), but she has a book, so that makes her a writer. John Grisham is an author. A hack, but he has a book too. A couple thousand, actually. But J.D. Salinger was a Writer. William Faulkner, Jonathan Carroll, Raymond Carver, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, these men were Writers, Authors, Artists, Storytellers, Masters. (I linked to the lesser known of my personal cannon.) They are my heroes, and, as humbly as I can, what I aspire to when I say that I don’t know how to define myself. I am a writer. Hopefully one day, perhaps, with the grace of whatever muse is out there, to be a Writer. But then there is also the work I get paid for, and that, for me, is writing.
Tonight I got one of the perks of my job. I went to an advanced screening for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the IMAX screen at Lincoln Center. This is something publicists do as a thank you to magazine and newspaper editors, corporate big wigs, and others who support their work. My girl at Warner Bros., the MCV hooked me up with the ticket, and since Tony happens to be something of a Potterophile, I took him along. I wasn’t there as a reviewer (if I were to review the film for work, I would have had to see it 3 months ago), just to enjoy it. I will say, though, that Alfonso Cuarón, the director, has saved the series from the clutches of the overly literal, and two dimensionally imaginative Chris Columbus. It is a well done film, a good summer distraction. After the film should have gone to the Mercury Lounge in the Village to see this band, Joemica & Poetry I think they are called. But the show was at 10:45, and if I had slugged down there I would not have made it home till 2 or 3. I didn’t slept much this past weekend, and am just too tired for a night like that. Guess I’ll settle in and try to sleep, or perhaps start reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Or maybe call Mel. Whatever it is, it will be less exhausting than hanging out at a bar drinking a few and listening to a band whose CD will probably be on my desk in the next week or so, when I can actually give it a good listen. Sleep well.