Friday, March 11, 2011

What We Are

Spring in Nacogdoches makes rejection go down easy.

I finally received my official rejection from the Iowa Writer's Workshop yesterday. I assumed I wouldn't get in because seriously - it's Iowa. I applied anyway because you just never know and seriously - it's Iowa! According to the form letter that I found in my mailbox, they had 1,115 fiction applications for 25 spots this year. I'm not really disappointed. Truthfully, I don't want to move to Iowa City and I'm crossing my fingers for a smaller, more intimate program. I've heard some promising things from other schools, but nothing concrete just yet. When I know for sure, so will you!

The other day I was thinking about the words we use to describe ourselves and how we are identified. I write. I publish. Occasionally, I am accepted to and waitlisted at competitive MFA programs. And yet I have a hard time calling myself a Writer with a capital W. To me, a Writer is someone who sits in a room, empty except for a large desk, a cup of coffee and a computer upon which she taps out her brilliance one keystroke at a time. A Writer is not, for example, a person who works a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, who struggles to find time to sit at her computer, which is in a messy and marginally organized room, and works on her craft for fifteen minutes here, thirty minutes there, while a dog pushes his nose into her lap and the laundry buzzes to let her know the clothes are dry.

It's the same thing with running. I run three or four times a week since I started three years ago. I train for races and have finished two marathons. But I still feel weird calling myself a Runner with a capital R. To me, a Runner is someone who moves effortlessly through their workouts, who is long and lean and fast, who runs because it's natural and easy and enjoyable. Running is not easy for me. I love it, but I've worked hard to make it this far. Even now, I still have a lot of bad runs along with the good ones.

I run, but I'm not a Runner. I write, but I'm not a Writer. Or am I? According to Annie Dillard, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." If this is true, then I guess I'm a lot of things. A Dog Walker, a Research Development Specialist, a Vegetarian, an Inhabitant of a Incorrigibly Messy Home, a Blogger, a Bookworm, a Daughter, a Sister, a Girlfriend, a Yogi-in-Training, a Dreamer, an Optimist.

A Runner. A Writer.

I like the sound of that.

What are you?