Hello, so it’s that time of year when the nights get long and the trees drop their leaves… and when it is only fitting to read lots and lots of horror (or is that just me?) Anyway, I have a treat for readers and authors, because Aiden (author of GAPE – horror fiction) is here to share his thoughts on the defining question of most writers (at one time or another): Am I a writer yet?
Gape by Aiden Truss
When Rose woke up in her favourite shop doorway, she was resigned to yet another day of hunger, struggle and abuse. This was life on the streets after all.
What she wasn’t prepared for was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.
After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…
Am I A Writer Yet?
So I had a conversation with someone on holiday. We were staying on the Aegean coast of Turkey and as my wife’s friend happened to be staying in a nearby town, we agreed to meet up for dinner. On the night in question, she brought along her whole family and after the introductions we all settled down to polite small talk and I ended up chatting to my wife’s friend’s husband.
I’m not the best person at dealing with social situations, but after five or six minutes I thought that I just about had a handle on things. Just as I was mentally patting myself on the back, I was hit with the ‘So, what do you do?’ question. The wind was knocked immediately from my sails and I remember my mouth falling open and several second’s hesitation. I looked at my wife who nodded in encouragement before I announced tentatively, ‘Oh… I’m a writer.’
Even as I said it, I was fact checking in my head. Yes, I earn a living as a copywriter at the moment. Yes, I’ve had lots of articles and book chapters published. And finally, yes I’ve just had a novel published. But did I really have the right to call myself a writer? My conversation partner was certainly taken aback by this. He gawked back at me and said something along the lines of “Bloody hell, I’ve never met a writer before!”
When I attempted to dismiss any notion that I was anything particularly windswept and interesting, I failed miserably. Partly, the mistake was to ask him what he did. For some reason he seemed reluctant to share the fact that he was a forklift driver in a warehouse. Despite this sounding like a really fun job to me, he sighed in resignation that it wasn’t as interesting as what I did.
My inner eye immediately turned to my daily routine.
During the week, I commute to the office where I work as a contractor, writing web content and advertising copy. I spend eight hours in front of a screen and during my lunch break I often write for myself. I read on the way home before eating, and then sitting in front of yet another screen to wrestle with one of the many and various pieces of writing that I’m working on. I do have a normal life in-between these frenzied bouts of composition, but you get the gist don’t you?
Don’t get me wrong – I love to write, even when I’m struggling to put one word after another, but looking at things it’s all such a long way from the glamour that he had assumed came with the idea of being a writer. And this is not an uncommon reaction. Since my first novel Gape was published, I’ve had lots of admiring looks and comments from people that I’d normally be hard-pressed to get the time of day from. Suddenly I’ve gone up in their estimation and that makes me feel even more of a fraud.
But this is where I think that perhaps I really am justified in calling myself a writer. The constant gnawing insecurity seems to be so much a part of the writer’s experience that above anything else – even the writing itself – it qualifies me to adopt the mantle.
Driving a forklift still sounds like bloody good fun though.
Aiden Truss is a forty one year-old geek who still thinks that he’s twenty-one. Despite never having grown up, he’s now been married for twenty four years and has two sons who have grown up against all odds to be strangely well adjusted.
Aiden spends his time flitting between high and low culture: he holds an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies and can often be seen stalking the galleries and museums of London, but also likes watching WWE, listening to heavy metal music, collecting comic books and playing classic video games. Aiden lives in Kent, England and Gape is his first novel.
Must announce that on 23rd of September my first ever Goodreads giveaway began and lasts for one month. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/1duJm1o. Please go enter to win one paperback copy of Finding Esta. If you would, please mention it somewhere, that would also be wonderful!