Friday, February 4, 2011

Being a Writer and Owning It

Hi all, welcome to the first guest post on this blog ever. I know that I need a better name for it, so please feel free to shoot with the suggestions.

Anyway, everyone, please give Marjorie Rivera, our first brave soul. Her blog, Upwards Over the Mountain, is still really new, but I really enjoy my visits there. So go click on over and say hi.

Without further ado, here's her post....

Hello. My name is Marjorie, and I am a writer.

*sits down*

I’m pretty new to this game, but in my (negligible) experience, writing is much more personal than joining the ranks of a profession or industry: it is a permanent state of existence. On most days, though, being a writer feels like a condition. A condition that must be treated with books, pizza, and Luna Bars.

I’m in the embryonic stage of writerhood. So far, this phase has involved admitting to anyone who will listen that I am a writer, reading blogs about writing to distract myself from actually writing, and wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Two and a half years ago, I was copying down law school statistics in my notebook and stacking myself up against the competition. So this would be something of a career change.

Saying those three little words--I’m a writer--automatically removes any hope I have of ever achieving any kind of normalcy. But at least I can stop worrying about being normal. Or rather, I can stop worrying about pretending to be normal and hoping no one will find out that I’m really not. I’m a lot less anxious about this than I was six months ago.

I’m currently studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan. I’ve been told I speak good Chinese (by very kind and supportive people). But almost every day, the locals I talk to look at me with an expression of bemused pity: Ah. She’s a foreigner. That’s why she said something about a bumblebee when she meant to ask for the check. I’m getting used to that look now, because I’m going to see it for a long, long time. (Ah. She’s a writer. That’s why she appears to be in desperate need of a hug/pizza/alcohol.) Being a writer does not entail endless dreaming of million-dollar book deals. (Okay, maybe sometimes.) It does mean walking around speaking aloud dialogues of characters in a book you want to write and looking like a crazy person who’s talking to herself.

It means checking the page views on your blog when you should be doing homework.

It means wondering if your mom is the only one who likes your writing.

It means watching people younger than you getting published and wondering if that will ever happen to you.

It means looking at short story you wrote last year and realizing it needs a fifth draft. Probably a sixth and a seventh, too.

It means wondering if your writing will ever be good enough.

And yet, there is a tiny part of you, no bigger than a mote, that believes you can do it. Maybe you can pull off this whole writing thing. Somehow.

For some reason, I’ve chosen to listen to the mote.

I wrote in my notebook for two hours tonight in a diner. (Yes, I have found a diner in Taiwan. It is duly called “The Diner”.) The same notebook in which I wrote down those scary law school statistics and tried to budget my meager funds and pined over boys. I paused to eat apple pie and ice cream and look out at the rain and passersby. The act of taking a page and filling it with words was exactly what I needed to have the world make sense again. It was a moment of Peace and Happiness, and it is one of many other similar moments that have helped me understand why I write: because doing anything else is simply lying to myself.

So, yeah. That novel I’ve been thinking about writing for a year? Totally going to write it. After I finish the Chinese homework I’ve been neglecting for the past week.

Thanks so much for contributing, Marjorie.

Anyone who is still interested can contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com). I have half of March and all of the rest of the year open...


  1. Thanks so much for having me Misha! This is so exciting!

  2. This was a great post. We all try to listen to that mote. Some people don't have a mote, they've got an elephant. That'd be nice... Haha.

    Definitely going to go check out Marjorie, now!

  3. I definitely listen to my mote too. I'd be lost without it! This was a really interesting guest post. That's so cool you're studying abroad Marjorie!!

  4. Oh you've got to write it now, you blogged about it. Good luck with, speaking Chinese and school.

  5. This is a great post, Marjorie! Listen to that mote and get those words down on paper!

  6. Sometimes it's pretty hard to hear the call of that mote, it's so faint, but somehow it always finds a way of making itself heard! :)

    Judy (South Africa)

  7. What a delightful post! I love the humor (very realistic RE writing).

    Marjorie, I lived in Taichung, Taiwan back in 1973...Was a young engineer for the Air Force at CCK Air Base...Oh, what wonderful awakenings I had that beautiful year!

    Marjorie, your considerable talent is obvious in your post and I wish you good fortune in bringing your goodies to the public in the future.

    BTW, just what are you studying in Taiwan?

    Misha, thanks for the fine guest post!

  8. Great post! I remember the feeling of first "admitting" to people that I am a writer... actually I still feel that way when I tell someone for the first time. I wonder if that feeling will change once published? :-)

  9. LOL! So. True! I LOVE this post. Especially the part about relinquishing any hope of a "normal" life as a writer, haha!

    Nice post! :D

  10. Wonderful interview and very funny! I'll definitely hop over and check out her blog :D

    Marjorie, I love that you said that you write "because anything else would be lying to yourself." So very true. We find ourselves in the writing.

    Good luck in Taiwan and with that new, shiny novel!!!


  11. Law school, you speak Chinese, and you're extremely fluent in English. Wow. You're already a writer imo and you just need to get the word out there so that people know about you. With that kind of background, there should be no end to the kinds of stuff you can come up with to write about that's so interesting, people won't be able to put it down.

  12. I liked the post!

    Wow, Taiwan, sounds fun and interesting and very good scenery to be around to inspire your writing! I'm envious :)

  13. Beautifully put. I loved every word of it! I especially like that this is a permanent state of existence. I'm a writer, whether I ever become published or not. It is who I am, deep down inside.

  14. Great post. Love the part about no hope of a normal life as a writer. :) Thanks, Marjorie.
    Misha, I noticed you on several blogs today and decided to pop over. *waving*

  15. Oh you have to write that novel now. You are already past the first and most difficult stage: accepting that you can't have a normal life as a writer ;)

  16. It's fantastic that you can say to others I am a writer! Not there yet myself (even with a finished novel under my belt) but I'm working up the nerve. The best part is realizing all the weird quirks normal people don't have, are totally acceptable for a writer.

  17. I loved this post! I truly agree with you on listening to the mote :)

  18. Hi all! Just want to say a million thank you's to everyone that came over to support Marjorie.

    I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed her post as much as I did.

    Stay tuned for this Friday's post...

    And remember to contact me to book your Friday.



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