False Advertising Me

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked me.

He was at least 45. I was 22. He wore a suit and gold watch. I was wearing what my friends called the pocket dress–because you could fold it up and put it in your pocket.

I was also wearing a hot pink jacket and hot pink shoes. He and his friends at the table behind him looked like men with money. “Oh, thanks,” I said and looked down at the floor. “But that’s okay. My friends are waiting for me.”

He said something else, but I didn’t hear it because I was already walking away.

The clingy white dress said things that were not true. I just didn’t realize it until I was stopped by the man with perfect businessman hair and a near empty glass of whiskey.

Sometimes a person compliments my work, and I can’t get away from the feeling that my art is no way to see me at all. At IF+D when the owner introduces me to people as an artist and writer I want to shake my head and leave. You are seeing this, but this is a mistake.

Of course, it is and it isn’t. Like the dress.

Do you feel your work represents you? Does the label writer or artist feel right? Does it make you want to step up or run away?

14 thoughts on “False Advertising Me

  1. I’ve always been leery of artist, because it can sound pretentious and I like to think I’ve finished with that, but writer is no problem because that’s what I do and what I teach, and, in fact, what I sometimes write about. I get to add a hyphen, editor, because I am that as well, but it, too, is about writing. You need have no qualms about artist because you make it and you are so far as I can see, every bit it.

    1. I have to force myself to say directly to anyone, “I am a writer” or “I am an artist.” It is easier to say, “I like to write” or “I like to make art.” And if someone asks me, “Are you a writer?” or “Are you an artist?” it takes a few moments before I manage a yes.

      I wish I understood why this happens.

      (Also, I am taking the GRE in the morning and it is making me a little nuts.)

      1. GREs as an indication of suitability for writing programs don’t make much sense. Typically, my best students had lousy GRE scores and were let in on probation, whereupon they aced all their classes with the work they produced.

  2. I’m comfortable with writer. I won’t be comfortable with “author” for a while, but writer I’m okay with. I think it puts added pressure on a person to “be” a certain way when it’s not necessary, but I think the title fits me at this juncture.

    And artist is something I loved but can’t claim with a straight face now. I’d be lying if I tried.

    Now, IT technician? That one feels false and weird.

  3. I was faced with this just yesterday, at my daughter’s school. I think I have enough to say about it to write a whole post, so that’s what I’ll do.

    As to whether or not you yourself should be calling yourself writer and artist? I vote yes.

  4. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve felt utterly bogus because of something I’ve written. This is one thing, I’m sure, which makes me hedge when it comes to submitting my work — even for plain-old critiques or courtesy reads. If I just keep it to myself I’ll never have to worry about being found out as somehow who fakes writing. In some ways I’d much rather be “discovered” posthumously.

    1. Er, that probably sounds a little creepy.

      (Ha ha. I realized the creepiness almost right away but couldn’t post this comment; I got an error message which said “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”)

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