Thursday, January 19, 2012


If you’ve ever travelled out of the country…
You know you have to pass through customs and immigration…
And declare things like…
Are you bringing in pathogens?
(do germs in my runny nose count?
(is the peanut at the bottom of my purse considered a seed?)
Have you been around farm animals?
(I did drive by a goat going to the ruins in Coba)
Are you carrying more than ten thousand dollars?
(ha! ha! ha'! ha! ha! ha! ha!)
Then, you must declare all the gifts and items you bought…
Just in case they can tax you.
(are four plastic penguins I bought for my grandkids taxable?)
I’ve done the "declaring" ritual a lot lately…
And feel confident they’re not going to “catch” me …
Doing something I’m not supposed to do.
But just a few days ago…
I was standing in front of the U.S. immigration agent…
When she looks down at my passport…
(yeah, yeah, I know...bad hair day)
And asks, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an author,” I blurted out.
(Lord! I’ve never called myself an author before, always a writer)
What do you write?”
“What kind?”
“Humorous women’s fiction.”
(and one horror novel that I scared my poor neighbor with)
What have you published?”
“Um, nothing yet.”
Just then, I was sure armed guards were going to rush in…
Escort me to a room…
Push me in a chair and pound their fist on the table and say,
“You said you make a living being an author?”
“Well, um…you see…I uh…”
“But you’ve published NOTHING?”
“But I’m trying to get published. And I won a writing contest.”
“Do you know what we do to people who lie?”
“But I’ve written six novels. I swear!”
“Guards! Take this wannabe author away!”
Do you call yourself a writer or an author?
And is there a difference?

Always, Em-Musing


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've finally learned to call myself an author.
And I think driving by the goat farm does count.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

LMAO. You should write a whole novel based on this post. I bet it would get published. :)

farawayeyes said...

Ha, ha, ha.I'm always more nervous about other things. Like the apple in my purse that I wanted to eat on the plane. Customs found me trying to smuggle an apple out of the VI and threw it away. I think I'm on a list now. They go through everything when I leave. Of course,maybe it's because of the trouble when my friend Rosa had to leave her bag when we went to the DR.

See, I'm not too concerned what I tell them I do for a living. I tend to use writer/author on an off. I've heard it said you're only an autho, if your published. So,who decided that? Published authors?

My take on this: you're only lying, if you don't believe it.

Slamdunk said...

I have never been an author, but pretend to be a writer on occasion.

Jessica Salyer said...

Too funny. Thanks for the laugh. I haven't called myself a writer and don't know when I'll be able to. If people ask me what I do... I'm a nurse. My friends and family know that I blog and am writing a novel, but I don't announce it to anyone else.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I'll call myself an author when I make a solid financial living doing what I do now. Until then, "starving artist" works just fine.

Anne Gallagher said...

I have always lived under the assumption that when you are writing a novel you are a writer. When you finish writing the novel you are an author. When you get paid for the novel you are a novelist.

Anonymous said...

If I was being objective I would say....what does it matter as long as you love what you are doing!! It is also easier for me as I know I will never be confronted by this dilemma. I simply put the words in my mind onto paper....and I'm sure there would be many other names people would like to call what I finish up with. You're ability to weave humour throughout your writing would suggest to me that your an extremely talented novelist/author/writer with an ability to make people smile and feel good when they read the words you write. I thought this was a classic post. I'm with Karen in relation to a compilation of these types of posts. I'd pay money to read that!! Best wishes. Jeff.

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehehe I don't think there's much of a difference between a writer and an author, but I think I'll only think I'll be able to call myself an Author if I can say "author of* and have a title that people might recognize.