I have learned to tell strangers at bus stops or family parties that I am a webmaster, or, if I really want to hear them talk, I say I’m a teacher (not a professor). “Teacher” elicits all sorts of commentary and memories, plus the “Guess What I Teach” game. Everyone always guesses right: I’m an English teacher. I fail to see what is wrong with looking like one.
But when you tell a stranger, “I’m a writer,” you'll get frosted or flummoxed by one of these:
- “A writer, eh? Ya know, my life could be a book. Whoo-ee! I’ll tell it to you and you can write it.”
- “What do you write?” (Disappointment or disapproval will follow regardless of your answer)
- “Have you ever heard of this book called (Dune, Twilight, The Lovely Bones, Ball Four)?”
- “Have you published anywhere I might have read it?”
- “So you get to sit home all day and write.”
- “My daughter writes poetry. It helps so much with her depression.”