Girls Write Out
Friday, January 29, 2010

Why are Writers Fascinating?

This is something that mystifies me. When I tell people I'm a writer, they are so excited and lob questions at me like I'm the all-knowing Oz. I live two blocks from the Apple campus (and they didn't ask me or I would have used my marketing degree to advise them on the STUPID iPad name -- hello? Focus group, people, get out of your closed-in world. I'm available at your Starbucks every morning!) Sorry, tangent. And it seems nearly everyone here has a PhD -- at least a Masters and they all wear their fancy college name on the back of their Mercedes. I went to San Jose State, and let's just say, I graduated all right? I was happy with that. I saw no reason to go to school any longer than that. I thought, quick, grab the degree before someone figures out that you guessed on that Scantron test for statistics and takes back that B-!

As someone who is good at things that make no worldly difference, like the lyrics to 80's classics or what season someone's Coach bag is, I'm always interested in hearing what people do around here. Yesterday, I was in line and I met an Indian woman who teaches university classes online. Well, I know another Indian woman who teaches online and I ask her if they're acquainted. Lo and behold, they know each other from the YMCA and unanimously, the worst part of teaching online is grading. I will put that info away for further use! But both thought they might write a book someday.

I met a female pharmacist the other day, educated in India -- who hates her job. She wants to be a writer and couldn't wait to pick my brain. I sort of resent this. These people are fully employable. So go. Work. Leaving the writing to us hermits with no other discernable skills, okay?

I want to tell these people, I'm a writer -- which means I am the most boring person you can imagine. Think of a librarian and take out the social aspects. We spend our days alone, in our imaginary worlds and we ingest a lot of caffeine. Does that sound like the life of Riley to you? Oh, and our paychecks are few and far between unless your name is J.K. Rowling -- and mine isn't.

Colin Firth was on "Charlie Rose" last night, and he said he wanted to be an actor because he didn't want to get up in the morning. He didn't want to do anything that required him to be somewhere early. I second that. My brain doesn't turn on until about ten. But that got me to thinking, these people who are so fascinated by writing as a job -- they are CAPABLE people with a paying job, why would they want to do this? Can you live with a paycheck being optional? Can you live with people saying you suck online and in magazines?

So why do people who are smart enough to get PhDs, and valuable enough to make the big bucks in Silicon Valley, why on earth do they want to ask me questions? Maybe they're thinking, how on earth is that stupid chick a writer? Gosh. Anybody can do it then!

At the same time, if I met Maeve Binchy, Anne Tyler or Martha Beck, I wouldn't be able to speak from being starstruck -- but what fascinates me is people who can get multiple advanced degrees because I could NEVER do it. I'm a writer because I want to know the answers. I want to know what made people the way they are. What building blocks go into what kind of people? Quirky people fascinate me. The guy with two Phds who is collecting/trading Star Wars card on a Saturday morning at the mall. What synapse are/aren't firing to make that happen? What kind of people do you find fascinating? And where do you find them? I get my best stuff at my son's soccer game.

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posted at 1:49 AM  
  Comments (16)
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At 9:58 AM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

First, I am with ya on the iPad know there was no female in that room when it came time to call it something.

Second, I think people find writers fascinating because we assume they are quirky, and I think quirky fascinates everyone. People like me b/c I'm quirky, altho I am not a writer. hmmmm, perhaps I should look into this, lol....


At 10:10 AM, Blogger Abby said...

You always get me laughing Kristin!

I think people are fascinated with writers because writers have such vivid imaginations that they must be awesome in person:)

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Quirky is definitely the word for us! Watch the whole room full of diners when there is a group of axe murdering novelists at a table brainstorming their next book. Oh, my. We do get a bit rowdy, and often have to explain ourselves to wait staff and surrounding onlookers. We know how to have fun when we get together, but I think we probably scare a lot of people.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

"A librarian without the social aspects." That explains so much.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Denise, did you wonder WHY you were weird? Your job title explains a lot. I had a dream last night that this entire store was going crazy over this woman who wrote storylines for Lincoln Logs. ROFLOL Where did THAT come from?

And I was buying a cute surfing Winnie the Pooh cookie jar that said Santa Barbara on his sweatshirt. Um? And yes, I do this all without the aid of drugs. LOL

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

This made me laugh so much. You are one of the smartest people I know--and I know doctors and Ph.D's and brain surgeons...

I once belonged to a church where the pastor was totally fascinated with writing and was always asking me questions, and alternately criticizing me over it(I did columns and articles.) In his sermon he says, "Well, if Crystal here can write and publish articles, surely I can and the rest of you, too!"

I sat there stunned and more than a little like I'd been slammed. If Crystal here--meaning I'm an idiot? Well, duh, anyone can do it! Not to mention I was mortified being talked about in his sermon.

All writing does for me is humiliate me, but I still try. I feel like a target most days. One reason I'm glad I have no fame. It's bad enough at the personal level.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

Oh, and when I was doing competition trapshooting (and flying around the country with a shotgun,) I found champion trapshooters fascinating. I'd be sitting there with people who talked about fueling their jets and where the best fuel stops were. Talk about an alternate universe for me.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...


At 11:58 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Crystal, that's how you know you're really a writer. You're willing to take that humiliation to be one. If you had any shame, you'd have a real job, right?

But as a writer, you can take crap from your pastor and think, yeah? Go ahead dude, make my day. Get something published. LOL

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Beverly said...


[Any update on Diann? Have begun praying for compassionate nurses to help her manage the post-surgical discomfort. I know info on pathology will be forthcoming to them, but I am just wondering how the actual surgery went. One step at a time, that's all we can do, right? Other than praying it forward!]

iPad??? You're right. No women in that meeting, and they should have asked you.

My psychology degree (which I am using as a homemaker!) is coming into play here, and I think that the fascination with writers comes from our need to have our ideas and creativity validated by others. As a writer, you have figured out how to get others to do that, and maybe the fascination is really envy. Or, it is the assumption that you have been able to do that ... when, really, there is probably a lot more to it and there are probably days you don't feel validated at all! :-)

I am easily fascinated ... :-).... My girls' piano teacher, college kids who have had the courage to take Scripture and the life of Jesus like He meant it literally and not theoretically (I'm thinking of a 23 year old young lady who took off for Haiti with medical supplies; missionaires going to Rwanda, and young couples who are moving to large cities with the intention of living out the life of Christ starting with an open door/what is mine is yours policy.) I also am fascinated by other stay at home Mom's who manage to really BE something as they do it, i.e., they really DO scrapbook, or they really DO run 1/2 marathons. Or, they really DO write, whether published or not!

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Heather Diane Tipton said...

LOL Maybe that's my problem... I'm only meant to be a writer and that's why I don't have a job! LOL

As to where I find interesting things to write about... I volunteer at my churches food pantry every Thursday. all the workers have found out by roundabout ways that I'm a writer now and they're all a little more cautious around me. LOL It's amusing to me.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Katy McKenna said...

Some of my best material right now is coming from hospitals and nursing homes. And I have learned something I should have realized a LONG time ago: If you tell the staff at your mama's nursing home that you're writing a memoir about the experience, they perk up and treat your mama NICE. :)

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Beverly, you asked for an update on Di. She's going to the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, IL and we are SO relieved! She'll get great care there. I'm taking her up and staying with her until the surgery is over. Party! Well as much of a party as you can have with something like this. But we'll laugh and cry and laugh some more. Jim will be up later in the week so I'll take care of her through the first appointment stuff as they get her settled.

This place is just phenomenal! They use cutting edge treatment AND naturopathic approaches. They treat the whole person. We're excited to see it! We're hoping she has surgery on Wed or Thurs, Feb 10 or 11th. We'll keep you all posted. We all SO appreciate the prayers for her! She's very dear to us.

I plan on doing some people watching at the hospital! LOL Who knows, I might come up with a convoluted murder plot. . .

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Beverly said...


Thanks so much for updating me.

So she didn't have surgery this morning??? For Pete's sake. I can't keep anything straight. Well,we'll just consider all this prayed forward, then! Good grief.

Loving Diann and God's timelessness,

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

Maybe one of the reasons why people get all excited when they find out you are a writer is because they think you are famous....and they love hobnobbing with famous people! (You ARE famous but you know what I mean.) It's as if famous people aren't really people or something. Maybe aliens from another planet? I dunno.

I've learned from personal experience that "famous" people still use the bathroom, sometimes have bad breath, and their dirty underwear is still dirty until tossed into the laundry machines. You actually are ordinary people who are able to something extraordinary once in a writing an entire book and getting it published. That's something I could NEVER do; I don't have that kind of patience.

We each have our own gifts bestowed on us by our Heavenly Father to suit His purposes. If we were all writers or other "famous" people, our world would be lopsided and needs wouldn't be met. So write on, ladies. And I'll do my thing and all will be right with our worlds.

Thus endeth the sermon for the day..........

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Leticia said...

Thank you on the update on Diann. Please let her know that there are many of us praying for her.

I admire most writers because they have such vivid imaginations and are able to put them down on paper and pull their readers in. That is a gift that truly comes from God. And I am grateful to all the wonderful Christian writers who heard the calling and bless us with their marvelous stories.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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