Like many writers I know, I have periods of massive self-doubt. My latest dance with this particularly bad partner left me blocked for weeks on end, unable to write a single word and feeling every moment of the failure I was convinced I was. I reached out to my equally neurotic writer friends online. They all assured me that they, too, suffered from the same malady from time to time. They all reassured me that it would pass. One of my writing cohorts even shared the fact that the last time she felt that way she found an acceptance to be in an anthology in her email. She told me the same thing would happen to me. I’d read her work. I was not her. Who was I kidding?
Most of what I do as a writer is just me banging around inside my own head, fingers flying over a keyboard. All of the blood, sweat and tears I pour into my writing is done in the wee hours of the morning, before I go to bed. The kids don’t see it because they are sleeping. My husband doesn’t see it because he’s usually working.
The only job any of them see me do is what makes me a Mom. They see me cook dinner, do laundry, scrub toilets and cart their butts around from place to place. I am Mom and that’s all that I would ever be to them.
Or so I thought.
I was sitting in the lobby of a DoubleTree Inn when I felt my chest swell a little. I was overhearing my husband talk with the man at the counter as he checked us in.
“So what brings you to Pittsburgh, sir,” the man asked.
“Oh, my wife has a conference or audition or something,” Jim said. “I’m not sure what it is, exactly. I just know it’s for writers.”
“Here?” the man said.
“Yes,” Jim said. “It’s a big step for my wife. She’s a shy woman and she’s very brave to come here.”
“What is it for?”
“I’m fuzzy on the details. I’m just the chauffeur,” Jim laughed. “All I know is it’s a big deal for her. She’s a talented writer. Very talented.”
With that, the man gave my husband the room key and we were on our way. It was late. We were tired and I was misty-eyed. We rode in the elevator and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I couldn’t stop smiling and crying at the same time.
Because he does get it.
Because he called me something other than Mom.
Because he called me by the most coveted of labels in my world.
Because he called me “writer.”