I was at a buffet lunch at my husband’s medical school class reunion recently, attended by about forty of his classmates and their spouses. I was so impressed by how they all had cared about the well-being of their patients and had not chosen their profession on the basis of its financial rewards. Now mostly past retirement age, many were still teaching and mentoring a new generation of doctors or consulting in research programs.
My admiration for this group included the wives of these doctors, one of whom has her water color paintings displayed at a local gallery; another is an accomplished photographer who judges competitions; others chose to better their communities with fund raising and volunteerism.
Eventually someone asked me what I do. I skipped over my lesser interests, large though they may be to me, and answered, “I am a writer.” Of course, the next question led me to tell them about Becoming Alice, my memoir. The news spread through the group as if it was gossip flying through a party telephone line and before long I was doing a presentation about my book like I do to local groups in my community.
Why am I telling you all this? It is because I have not yet been able to digest a comment made in one of my social networking groups by a gentleman who claims that no one has the right to call themselves a writer, or an author, unless that person has been published by a “traditional” publishing house, most likely located in New York. He did receive a multitude of comments in response, mine among them.
At the luncheon I was asked what my book was about and why did I decide to write my memoir, Becoming Alice, how long have I been writing, how long did it take, where can they buy my book, and what will I write about next.
I told them I’d been writing for quite a number of years now, that I’d initially taken writing courses and joined writer workshops, that I’d attended writer conferences and lectures, and that I read everything on the art and craft of writing that I could get my hands on. It is what I did for so many waking hours of my life. I considered myself a writer, which has nothing to do with whether or not my stuff was any good. That was for my readers to decide.
I told them that I was encouraged by the response my work received in my writing workshops. The pages of Becoming Alice took the shape of a book. It was published a little over two years ago, available in several local bookstores and online at amazon.com, barnesand noble.com, iuniverse.com, etc. where next to the cover of my book my name appeared as the author.
I told them that since then, I have been marketing my book by speaking at book clubs, libraries, temples, community centers, book festivals, etc. and that I also have a presence online. They can google my name, check out my website www.alicerene.com, and read my blod http://alicerene.wordpress.com. I think they consider me a writer, and an author.