Last Friday, I met a novelist.
I was at a happy hour drinking free, bad Chardonnay*, and I was introduced to someone who described herself as a novelist. That's not something you hear every day. She might as well have said, "I'm a rodeo clown" because she got the same reaction.
Then, so many questions. No, she wasn't yet published. Yes, she was working as a temp to support herself while she wrote. Yes, she had recently completed her first novel and was in the process of revising it. No, she was not self-publishing; she was going for the real deal. And so on.
She could have said she was a temp. She could have said she was an aspiring novelist. Instead, she embraced the title of novelist.
When does a novelist become a novelist? When they start to write a book? When they finish a draft of a book? When they get published? When they get annihilated by a critic? Really, rodeo clown is a lot better defined.
I envied her ability to believe that she was a novelist. I did. At the same time, it was like speaking to a five-year-old that tells you, "I'm going to be President." You smile broadly and say, "That's great!" because who's to say they're not? Yet, a part of you--that smarmy, dream-killing part, who maybe has witnessed their attempts to work a room with armpit fart noises and found their efforts subdued and watery, at best--says, snidely, "Yeah, good luck with that."
Everybody has a dream of being something grand. At some point, most of us let those dreams go. But there is that small segment... 2% maybe? ... that continues to believe, to strive, to embrace the dream. Maybe they give themselves a time limit--"if I'm not on Broadway in seven years, I'll quit acting." But they go for it. And I salute them. Even as I cock my head funny at them.
Question du jour: Are dreams life's way of encouraging us or some twisted joke?
* You know how everything tastes better when it's free? Not even the fact that it was free could help the taste of this wine. So, sad.**
** Big surprise, I drank it anyway.***
*** Also, can somebody please kill the Chardonnay trend already? Bleah.