Sunday, November 4, 2007

What do you do?

Sometimes, when asked, I tell people I'm a poet. Usually I try to think up another definition for myself. Dreamer, cow whisperer, harpoonist, griddler, lemming. If I say I write, I dread these two familiar responses . . . Why do you do that? Meaning you can't get rich that way, now can you? The other: I write too. Would you like to see my poems?

Maybe it's a little unfair, but I love it when Jim, a physicist, has a similar problem. My two favorite responses to his profession . . . Wow, so you can explain string theory? And: I have this idea for a perpetual motion machine. I'm sure it will work. My only problem is that I never studied physics so maybe we could talk and . . .

2 comments:

sevnetus said...

My last response got swallowed by the internets ... They ask me, I mean for a living, what do you write about? And I begin at the beginning.

Karen at Pen in Hand said...

This reminds me of when I had the chance a few years ago to interview Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for the New Yorker. What a job, huh? Anyway, he said that when he was first named to the position, he had all kinds of people telling him their ideas for cartoons. Then one day he got a letter from playwright David Mamet congratulating him on his new position. The letter included a line about how he'd "taken the liberty of including some of my cartoons." Mankoff wrote him a thank you note, and said, "I've taken the liberty of including some of my plays . . . "