I have seen and read many articles over the years about how to know if you are a writer. Sometimes it seemed like a silly question and sometimes it was a serious one, when I was full of self-doubt. I know every writer has heard this before, that the most important thing you can do if you want to be a writer is to write. It is not always that simple, though. Many days it can be a struggle to find the right words, but somehow writing just took hold of me.
I write on scraps of paper, on napkins, on whatever is handy, though these days I usually have a notebook with me. I love to eavesdrop and try to get conversations as true as I can. I jot down phrases, sentences, thoughts and paragraphs, scenes that may become seeds of stories. Everything is important at that moment, crucial that I get it down.
My husband once left me for a couple of hours at The Dubliner, a bar on Market Street in Lowell that is now the Warp and Weft. I was in some kind of state and he didn’t question it. He asked how much time I wanted and when he came back to get me I was spent. We were surrounded by strangers, conversations and stories and I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I have no idea what I wrote that night, but it was important to me at the time. I wrote whatever I wrote because I had to.
I am not sure why I have not called myself a writer until recently; maybe it sounded pretentious or maybe I was waiting for that special moment that confirmed it. It was not when I published A Better Life or when I began this blog, or even when I received my first business cards a few days ago that say, Norma Murphy, Writer. My moment came last week when I was helping my granddaughter Leah with her homework. She had to come up with proper nouns for different categories and needed help with continents. I looked down and saw she had already filled in the category for “author” and there I was.
When I saw it I said something like, “Oh!” and she looked up at me and said, “Well you are.” I can officially call myself a writer now.