In a world of movers, shakers, and producers, the written word tends to be taken for granted. Sign here, initial there, write this way, sir or madam. Language creates and defines our reality or realities, but all too often it becomes our prison instead of our prism. English majors have the best (and sometimes worst) of both worlds, but when their asked these 10 questions, the book of life forces you to read between the lines.
1. You're an English major?Giphy
The question with the most audacity behind it without a doubt. To challenge the existence and purpose of an English major is beyond me. As if reading and writing were exclusive to anything and anyone else. Writers aren't in the business of first impressions, but we all know what that business model looks like: a long series of cubicles lined wall-to-wall with rejection letters. That's okay, English majors understand the need for math and science as well as faith and belief because they did their reading. How about you?
2. What do you write about?Giphy
Another broad question but just as necessary to ask. The answer tends to be limited by genre or even the type of writing you publish under, be it script writing or traditional writing for publishing houses. Even if you explain in detail what you write, they either fall on deaf ears or illiterate eyes. Concise, cookie-cutter language leaves writers intellectually starved, so throw us a bone and read a book and talk about it sometime. Better yet, learn the patience it's taken us to explain what we do to you so we don't make snap judgments about each other.
3. What are you going to do with that?
I don't know, maybe put words in people's mouths for a living like those actors in movies you adore so much. You didn't think they knew just what to say for every situation, did you? If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I'd have a nickel. Get with the program people, writers write more than rhymes. There's a submission process and there's self-publishing but each process is its own beast. Here's a mantra that reassures us on what we're going to do: as long as there are books, there will be people who read them.
4. Where do you get your ideas?Giphy
Who knows, and if I did know, why would I tell you? Ideas don't always surge through us like a plug and a wire. Time, experience, hearsay, it's all greater parts to a great whole. They're no good until their written down anyway. Writers wait and seek and find the inspiration in the familiar and the unfamiliar. It sounds like a non-answer but an open-ended answer that's right up our metaphoric alley.
5. What have you written?Giphy
People always know how serious a writer you are by how much you've written. For you however, its quality far more than quantity and others only understand that if they've read any of your work. You show but all they want is tell. They don't trust that you have stories to tell but the truth is, you do. The only thing left to do is keep writing.
6. Are you published?Giphy
Publication equals success in the writer's world but it's not just about being syndicated. The goal is to be published but the portfolio, the works produced must be edited from cover to cover. Writing is hard work despite how effortlessly it comes off to readers and the process is never as simple as an interview for any other job. It is the road less traveled but the rewards are an endless road.
7. Do you like your job?Giphy
Besides the existential crisis, we like it enough to love it. Reading and writing saves us many a heartbreak too. The hours are good, the books are good, the writing is getting there, but for the most part we're in good company. The benefits of this job make it not a job at all. It makes your work your play.
8. What do you think about people reading less?Giphy
Excuse me, please, not while I'm reading. Really? Surveys have shown a decrease in the number of books read in America and I think it's a crime. I also think if people remain curious and care about knowing and knowing more, the need to read will be there. Our trust in technology is almost religious but it can never get in the way of the printed word. To the people who read less, books will never become obsolete because their will always be an analog urge to hold and use something in real time.
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?Giphy
Thank you for the extra layer of existential crisis. Five years? Can you make it ten? In that time, we can hope to be alive and healthy and not accepting burritos as a form of currency. Career goals aren't always that simple. We understand the importance of planning ahead but thinking so far in advance isn't a guarantee. We live in the present and are doing what we need to do now so that we can enjoy tomorrow. Now for my regularly scheduled nap in the pit of self.
10. Will you write me in to your book?Giphy
How do we answer this? We could say yes, but would they even read it to find out? English majors aren't liars, or maybe their the greatest liars we have. I don't know, but anything is possible. That murder victim, the one who asked too many invasive questions, sounds vaguely familiar. Nah, it's just your imagination.
English majors are known for answering their own questions but if you ask them about their lives off the page, you'll get a different story. Just make sure the questions make for a happy ending.