A Piece of My Mind : A Writer's Life
Bennet Pomerantz

All writing comes from the grace of God.
   ~ Emerson

Being a great writer is not the same as writing great.
   ~ John Updike

Ah the impressions you get when you say you are a writer. Usually there are three questions or statements that are asked, told, or hinted at.

Usually the first question is "What have you written?" or "So, may I have read any books by you?"  When you say you write for newspapers, magazines or an internet column like this some people give you dirty looks.  It's as if your work is beneath their ideal of a writer. Then there are a few that say "Well dear. You will gain your chance to be in print some day." You do not know what to say to these people.

I know a friend who is a technical writer. She told me once that this woman gave her a distant look when she told her she was a technical writer and not a novel writer. The look, my friend recalled, had the earmark attitude like she hadn't earned the right to be called a writer.

The second thing most people ask is "So, how is Stephen King?" It seems like the person expects you to know his/her favorite author.

Now I have met Stephen King twice in my writing career. However I do not consider him to be one of my best buds. I do consider Melody Ravert to be a friend in my best buds group. Mel and I talk on the phone and on line. She and I are working a lot and we do not always have time to spend hours and hours together. However when we do get together, it's a great time.

I think the public in general have the idea that King, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Kevin J. Anderson and I all hang out together at Harry's Bar and Grill. It don't happen, though I did see Kevin and his beautiful wife Rebecca in passing at the Galaxy books booth at the Book Expo. True, I wish there was an Adams round table where all us writers could get to together. Maybe one day the internet will have a cyber writers' bar where we can all hang out and discuss writing.

The third misconception the general public has is the myth that we are rich. I love career day which I do at elementary and junior high schools. The first question usually is "Are you rich?" or "How much money do you make?" The weird thing is many adults have this ideal too. Because Stephen King (Ok, I am picking on him today) gets a three book-three million dollar contract, the general public thinks we all get that . . . Sorry to say it ain't true!

I don't have a BMW, a Lexus and a Rolls in my drive way. My diet isn't Prime Rib nightly. I don't have a mansion, a yacht, or a man servant to pick up after me. Also my computer does not type for itself. And there ain't any little elves or fairies who write my column while I sleep. Hmmmm, sounds like a great idea. Does anyone know the number of Rent-an-elf? Santa doesn't need them yet, maybe I can rent one cheap!

To those people who think I am rich, well I am rich . . . I am rich in life experience which helps create diverse ideals. I am rich in a wild imagination, so I can write such great columns and short works of fiction (NO COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY!)  I am also rich in a creative spark so I can write my words to paper and computer. I am also rich in life to get up in the morning and do this wondrous job, which I call a living. So am I rich? Maybe not to the general public's eyes, but I am in mine and that what counts.

I love the illusions the general public has regarding writers. Sorry, I don't have a villa in Rome or a house in the Hamptons to finish my great American novel. So you should know, my office is 200 feet from my bedroom, and 300 feet from my kitchen. A can of Beefaroni is a great lunch when you working on a deadline. I do not have a chef, just your friendly neighborhood microwave. Sorry for those who think I dine at the Rainbow room nightly, I don't!

But lets be honest, I am a journeyman writer. What that means to me is I still work at my craft daily. I am still honing it and laboring at my craft for twenty years. I do not know if I will know it after another twenty, so I keep reinventing the wheel daily.

Success is an odd tempered sword. I've found I've gotten fame in the same breath as people yell "WHO?"

I did a weird thing as I wrote this column, I did a search on my name on both MSN and Yahoo. I found 1305 hits on MSN and 543 on yahoo regarding me. Now I don't know if they're all about me.  They may be, BUT I don't think so!

You must always remember these words as writers: "Fame does not put food on the table, work does!"

On another note, I am on a quest.  I am seeking answers to the immortal question for the Second Annual " When did you consider yourself a writer?" from writers from all avenues of writing (if you are reading this, this means you!). For those who need a word count, think 50-150 words. If you need a few more words to express yourself, its okay! Then e-mail your piece to [email protected] with the word WRITER in the subject line of your e-mail (NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE!). The WRITER column will appear either November or December in this space . Those who've already submitted, I have your pieces and thank you.

So til next time, Reach for the stars!

This article is the sole property of the author. It is produced here with the author's permission.  The unauthorized use or reprinting of an article is illegal, and will be prosecuted at the discretion of the author.

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.