In twelve years as a published writer, I have never whipped out my credit card at a store and had a cashier look at it, gasp, and say, "Are you the Gail Gauthier?" I've never had anyone ask for my driver's license, take one look at it, and go, "Gail Gauthier? The writer? I love your books!"
So imagine my surprise today when I was in the library and the newish librarian, whom I've only seen a couple of times, looked at the computer screen as she checked me out and said, "Are you a writer?"
Okay. In case you can't imagine my surprise, I will tell you that I nearly fell over dead right there in front of the check-out desk. The other librarians have known me forever, and they just don't care. Occasionally, they'll say something like, "Are you still writing?" Implying, I always think, "Haven't you given up on that yet?" Really, this was quite an event for me.
I admitted to the new, most wonderful library lady that I was indeed a writer. She asked what I'd written. I mentioned the two most recent books. She said, "I think I've seen your name on something that was lying around my house. Something my daughter was reading."
So I kept reciting titles, and when I got to A Year with Butch and Spike, she said, "Yes! Yes! That's it!"
She seemed quite happy to meet me.
I'll get that reaction at schools sometimes. Once I sat down in the cafeteria at lunch across from a young girl, who said, "My mother is going to be so excited because I ate with an author!" Then she said, "Who do you like on American Idol?"
I love that girl. I love that librarian.
I think a lot of people aren't all that overwhelmed these days over being in the presence of a writer because there are so very many of us. If it's true that three hundred to four hundred thousand books are published every year, writers are common as mud.
When I was a cashier at Barnes and Noble (and a student in library school), a fairly famous librarian checked out and I almost got a bit fan-girly. It worked out, though; she gave me an internship and her name on my reference list has really helped me get jobs.
If only famous writers stopped by my library. I totally get geeky over writers.
I'm cracking up over the "Are you still writing?" question. Strange how it seems to imply it's just a hobby. Think I'll start asking my lawyer and accounting (etc.) friends if they're still lawyering and accounting! ;-)
I even get "is Gail still writing" from some folks that I deal with, so I think Jennifer is correct that many people view writing books as somehow not a "real job". No one has ever asked me if I am still engineering.
Gail's Computer Guy.
A famous librarian! That's fantastic!
In all honesty, I wander around town at all different hours without makeup and in tee-shirts and blue jeans, some of which I've inherited from male family members. I'm sure I give the appearance of not having meaningful employment. People are probably either offended or pity me.
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