Friday, April 6, 2018

Calling Myself a Writer as a Cripple

I'm a writer.  When some stranger asks what my occupation is, that's what I say.  I don't talk about being unemployed.  I don't tell them writing is a hobby.  It is the thing that moves me.  It is where my energy goes when I have energy to spare.  I write.

I don't make money so, according to everyone else, it's a hobby.  A hobby, to me, is a sweet diversion you can take or leave.  A hobby is an interest, warming without burning.  Writing is the thirst I can't slake.  Writing can be a hobby for some, but it isn't for me.

Saying my writing is a hobby lets people put it in the "frivolous" category, especially since I'm disabled.  It is considered an act meant to fool me into thinking I'm participating in a valuable pursuit instead of my writing legitimately being that valuable pursuit.  It strips it of seriousness.  

If society can strip away how hard I work on my craft, society can justify not having a place for my art.  Other (able-bodied) people agonize over every word, but her poetry is a mere hobby.  I won't need a place at a conference for writers because I won't be seen as a true writer... dedicated and willing to work.  I won't need access to programs for writers because I'll be "clogging a spot" on the list.  

People taking disabled and/or neurodivergent writers seriously isn't the only problem with the industry, but it's a big one.
And then... there's me.  What does stating that writing is a job-- my job, do for me?  A lot!  It gives me the confidence to take risks.  It reminds me I've accomplished something, even during months I'm too sick to write a word.  It lets me look at the locked doors to the "Literary Community" and say I, cripple extraordinaire, belong inside like everyone else.  I just need to find the accessible entrance. 


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