When I tell people that I’m a writer, they typically respond with at least one of the following questions:

Would I know anything you’ve written? 

Where do you get your ideas from?

I never know how to answer these questions.

(That doesn’t stop me from trying– I’m a compulsive talker).

Try as I might, people do not seem gratified by my responses.

I used to think that had something to do with me. Surely I must be giving shite answers, that must be why a look of disappointment creeps over their faces, right?


(I think)

(Can you tell that I’m the sort of person who constantly questions herself?)

(Can you tell that I’m the kind of person who loves parenthetical remarks?)

More and more, I think they are disappointed because they haven’t asked their real questions.


Here’s what I imagine is going on:

Would I know anything you’ve written?

actually means

Are you rich and famous?  


Where do you get your ideas from?

actually means

You have had thoughts that would never have occurred to me. How can this be?

There are answers, certainly. I’m neither rich nor famous.  I get my ideas from the same place everyone gets their ideas. My ideas are not the same as yours because we are different people, with different minds and experiences.

I’m not sure there are any answers to these questions that people would find satisfying. How would you answer them?



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