What is a Writer?
by Lois Greene Stone
One of my students in Advanced English Composition casually commented, "Someday, I will be a writer." I wasn't sure that was going to happen, but I kept my opinion to myself and smiled politely. In contrast, a Communications major handed me a collection of short stories that she had passionately written, wanting my opinion. I encouraged her to submit one of her stories to the school's literary magazine. She followed my advice. Shortly afterward, a story of hers was published. Full of talent and enthusiasm, she will continue to see her byline.
People who want to become authors don't say, ''someday, I will '', ''I could have penned that'', or ''when I get the chance, then I'll put it on paper''. Writers MUST write. There is no someday, chance, or special time, and few wait for anyone to ask for their words. All are determined to create; I suspect artists and musicians share the same urgency.
Writers also notice and feel things differently from other people. They observe details. For example, take the game of golf. It is played on a course with a ball and an assortment of clubs used to reach a green from the tee. The green's grass grain and slopes may influence putting speeds. Divots, which are chunks of missing grass made by a club striking a ball, are both a nuisance and penalty. Writers, while golfing, notice colors and textures of grass. Most are aware of bird songs, sunlight, and flags billowing on all eighteen holes. They observe indentations of divots that expose brown soil, are aware of the fragrances of flowers, and are tuned to sounds of golf carts breaking the silence. Many catch displays of body language that players use while waiting their turns behind other foursomes. Writers might notice an open acorn in a sand trap, hoof prints from deer that wandered onto the course, or a rainbow glowing from a sprinkler cooling off hot grass.
Capturing details is important to authors. Boasting, "If they asked me, I could write a book..." is rare among those compelled to write. They prefer to be typing, enjoying solitude as words are woven into tales. Writers accept the compulsion to create.
Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.