Friday, July 15, 2011
Guess I'm Just Not a Classy Author
Do you know the difference between “classy” authors and working writers?
Classy authors never show their toes in public. Writers go barefoot as often as they can.
Classy authors are always dressed up. Writers don’t comb their hair before lunch and wear sweat suits while they’re working if no one is coming over. Because I live in Florida, I’m usually in shorts with bare feet.
Classy authors never yell. Writers get excited and scream when their kids are pounding on the door, the printer won’t print, or the power goes off unexpectedly. We used to live in a rural area where our power transformers were mounted atop high telephone poles. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hard at work, heard a large kaboom, and stepped outside to discover that a squirrel had committed suicide on my telephone pole. Being a dedicated female writer, naturally I went back into the house, called Florida Power, and went shopping.
Classy Christian authors only read newspapers, the Bible, and My Utmost for His Highest. Writers read those things, too. But we also read the comics first thing in the morning and wistfully peek at Best Seller lists. We read other authors and gleefully note grammatical errors in the margins.
Classy authors do not eat except at banquets where they’re always the speaker and guest of honor. Writers snack all the time and consequently gain two pounds per book—unless they learn to chew sugarless gum instead.
Classy authors have housekeepers who cook for their families. Writers make tons of spaghetti and memorize the phone number for any pizza man who’ll deliver. I’m happy to report that the Schwan man and I are now on a first name basis.
In 1983, when I started writing, I wanted to be a classy author. I’d dream about people standing in three-mile lines for my book signings and people stopping me on the street and saying, “Aren’t you--”
But five years later, I actually wrote a book that a publisher wanted to buy. And the night after I got “the Call,” I lay awake thinking that the time had come to get serious, people were actually going to read what I wrote. And it might change their lives the way some books have changed mine. (After all, I learned how to flirt by reading Gone with The Wind.) And that God had just given me an awesome responsibility. . .
A few summers ago I went with my husband’s youth group to a camp where they have horseback riding. I mounted my hot, sweaty mare and leaned forward to brush the horseflies from her face. “What’s this horse’s name?” I asked the trail guide.
“Classy,” he said.
I grinned. I knew that was as close to classy as I would ever be.
Tee hee. Of course the above mini-speech is all in fun; I actually know many classy authors who happen to also be Real People. So that's what I try to be. Real. Honest. Transparent. In my writing work and in my life.
Because it's really the best way to be.