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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writer? Yes. Famous?

Today I'd like to unpack the title of my blog. I think we can all agree that I am a writer. All I have to do in order to call myself a writer is write. Granted, my first year of being a full-time writer, I mostly just dreamed about my historical novel without a clue as to how it would ever get written. But I have written articles and fiction (many of which are linked at the Good Reading page to your left), not to mention a lot of words on this blog, so, that half of the title is a given.

Now on to "famous." I'm not actually famous. Gasp! I explained this designation in my first post as more or less a delusion from my childhood. I was famous in my own mind when I declared myself as such for the reasons in the post, but mostly because everyone I knew, knew that I wrote. To me, a famous writer is the kind of person you can ask anyone on the street about and get a decent response, along the lines of "Everyone knows who she is! Jessica Knauss is the author of Tree/House, many short stories, and the silly YA series Sailing Italy."Back when I called myself a famous writer, you could have gotten a similar answer from any of the several adults who knew me, therefore, I was famous. And the blog title has its own kind of validity, independent of how my career goes from here.

But lingering behind "famous" is its partner, "rich." If "rich" is a requirement for "famous," then I definitely am not now and may never be. I'm not getting paid much at all for my writing (copies of the magazines I appear in, sometimes a five dollar honorarium I prize like a pot of gold). My husband recently got a raise, so we can breathe just a little easier, but it's not enough to go back to Pennsylvania and get our furniture and books, so I still feel pretty poor. I couldn't afford to go to Oregon to meet my amazing fans. We had to save up for a trip to the Spanish restaurant, for goodness sake. We hunch over to eat because we decided the one table we could afford worked best as a computer desk (what a relief that was!). We choose Crunchy Oat Squares instead of Life cereal. I'm grateful for the deliciously nutritious Crunchy Oat Squares, because some people can't even afford them, but I hope I'm making the point that we are not rich.

"Rich" lingers around "famous" because people figure that if everyone knows who you are, then someone must be paying you a lot of money. This is true in enough of the cases I've seen to convince me that if I can ever get people on the street to recognize my name, I'll already have several bestsellers and movie deals.

Bestsellers and movie deals are not easy to come by, just to clarify.

I wanted to point out that I'm not famous for the sake of people who click over here from other countries, like Moldova and Ghana, using the keywords "famous writer." Sorry folks. I really appreciate your clicks! You can say you knew me when.