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?”
“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?