First comes the handshake, then the birdlike head bobbing accompanied by the ever polite, “Hey, nice to me you. I already know you don’t give two damns what my name is, but hey, I’ll tell you anyway.” After that comes the big one, the sink or swim question that will either repel or encourage further conversation. “So what do you do?”
Generally speaking, most people couldn’t care less about your occupation unless A) He or she’s a gold digger, or B) They’re looking to do what you do (aka brown-nosing and/or networking). Throughout my life I’ve seen the pervasive image of artists meeting fellow artists as a meeting of the gods on Mount Olympus. Each artist overwhelmed having met someone on their level wearing beautifully banded olive leaves around their heads, keen on making the world a more bearable place, or tearing it to pieces through truth and enlightenment. To be a total debbie downer, this simply isn’t so.
The times I’ve been introduced to fellow writers, or the topic had come up in conversation, my response had always been, “I’m a writer too!” If my expectations of a sisterly hug, or instant cosmic connection was too high, sue me. Perhaps they were disgusted by my enthusiasm, face, or even my sad brown coat, but I expected something more than a dry, “Great, cool. That’s awesome,” or “Who isn’t?” Here are my theories as to why this happens:
1) The “Writers don’t have friends” writer
Get off your high horse and get some friends; unless you want to take to a life of curmudgeonly boozing. Listen, I get it. You’ve brought into the whole isolated, writing is misery thing. The lifestyle seems mysterious and badass and it just might be, but only to you. This isn’t to say you should go out and become the next dancing queen at your local bar, but you never know. You could end up meeting the self-deprecating BFF of your dreams.
2) The too cool for schooler
You could also call this the been there done that writer. The person who gives no f**** whatsoever. This guy or gal sees every so-called “writer” as a threat to their future literary throne. They spend time with their non-writer pals, trash talking, though no one has ever read their work and non one ever will. Probably because they spend more time yapping the jaw, than putting pen to paper.
3) The “I just like to write” writer
My personal favorite. This person has an imagination and style like no other and it is humbling. Sure, they’ll meet you for a drink and you can talk plot, character, and all that good stuff, but don’t push. This person isn’t concerned with publishing houses and who’s the next big thing. They don’t hold onto a belief that writing will save their souls. They write for the hell of it.
Now that we’ve gotten some stereotyping out of the way, go ahead and make some writer friends. If you’re like me, you’ll just chill with the ones you already have because they’re pretty awesome.