Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Margaret Maron introduces you as a writer

This is hard for me to tell.

Hard for me to write.  Which is usually a bit easier for me than telling.

And many of you will "get it."  Oh, yes.  

By now you've read my piece about the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame event we attended this past Sunday.

Can I tell you a personal highlight?

It was when Margaret Maron, friend and personal literary icon, introduced me to a friend of hers saying, "This is Kaye Barley.  Kaye's a friend of mine.  She's a writer."

I will always puff up like a banty rooster when Margaret refers to me as a friend.  I'm that proud.

But, do you have any idea how this might have felt to a person who is, frankly, unable to refer to herself as "a writer?"

To be introduced to someone.

By Margaret Maron.

As a writer.

Did I cry?  Almost.  (well,yes, okay, I did get a wee bit teary . . . ).  But I didn't burst into sobs.  I would have if Margaret and I had not been standing there, holding hands, while talking to her friend.  'Cause I would have run off to some private little place and boo-hooed.  Probably loudly.  And since I've never been able to cry "pretty," it would have been nasty.

And then?

Then, riding home I was browsing through Facebook and saw a picture that Bob Witchger had taken.

A picture of me with Sarah Shaber, Katy Munger, Brenda Witchger aka Brynn Bonner, and Diane Chamberlain.

Most of you will recognize these women - writers, all.

Excellent writers.

Known writers.

Brynn had posted it on her FB page and said this, "On this beautiful sunny day in North Carolina I was privileged to be with writer friends at Weymouth in Southern Pines to see our good friend, Margaret Maron, inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Lovely ceremony and a well-deserved honor."

And I started to cry a little.  (Again! for God's sake).

Donald looked over and said, "Miss Kaye?  (yes, he does sometimes really call me Miss Kaye), what's wrong?"

And I sobbed, "nothing."

This is when husbands have, I think, a hard time deciding whether to laugh, or roll their eyes, or pat you on the leg a little while muttering those little nothings meant to be soothing, or say, as Donald did, "Nothing.  Really?  Nothing.  Well, okay then."

Knowing full well that I would spit it out.

And, so I did.

And he listened.

And then he said, "I don't understand why you can't call yourself a writer.  This is the first I've heard of this.  I tell people you're a writer.  Why can't you tell them you're a writer?"

More tears.

"I don't know," I wailed.

And, of course, I do know.

Sorta.  Even though it sounds silly.  Especially in this day and time, I think.


It's very hard to admit.

But, I did.  Finally.  For the first time, maybe.

I told Donald that it comes from all the years of self-published writers being the red-headed step children of the writing community.

And we talked about this.

But then, bless his ever-lovin' sweet soul, he took the time to remind me that my "Whimsey" had gotten some awfully nice reviews.  Reviews from people who did not know me from Adam's house cat and did not know I don't (can't) call myself a writer.

And he took the time to remind me I've had a few juried pieces accepted in magazines and anthologies.  

And, reminded me about how excited I'd been when I heard about being a finalist at Southern Writers Magazine.

No.  Of course I had not forgotten these things.  Of course not, but still - it is nice to be reminded of them.


Suffice to say, it was an emotional day.

It was also a day of creative motivation for me.

I don't know, truthfully, that I will ever be able to refer to myself as a writer when someone says to me, "What do you do?"  The best I've been able to do, so far, is say, "I write a little."

But, today?


I wrote.


Lesa said...

Oh, Kaye. Well, let's see. I reviewed Whimsey (even though you are a friend, but I'd never met you at the time.) I interviewed you because you were "a published author". And, Whimsey was one of my favorite books of 2013, right along with books by Beth Hoffman, Nora Roberts, Craig Johnson and Louise Penny. And, who had one of the longest lines at Bouchercon for the signing in the anthology? Kaye Wilkinson Barley, a writer.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

oh, my.

Lesa, thank you.

And I have to say this. That line at the Bouchercon anthology signing? That was pretty special.

Lesa said...

Wasn't that a great line, Kaye? That was for a writer.

Shane Gericke said...

You are not just a writer, but a gifted writer, Kaye. You do not take a back seat to anyone.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

oh my goodness. Thank you, Shane. That means a lot coming from you.

Lynn in Texas said...

Oh, Kaye...I have yet to achieve your accomplishments but do hope you take time to enjoy them and "rest on your laurels" a bit! And P.S. ~ As for Donald, he seems a lot like my David, a real keeper! ;)

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Lynn, Thank you. I do need a nudge to remind me to enjoy the things I have done, don't I!? thanks for that. Donald is, without a doubt, one of the good guys. Give your good guy, David, a hug from me.

Lynn in Texas said...

He hugged you back, Kaye! And says hello to Donald and Harley. (We're Corgi lovers too, although our Maxie crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago.)xxx ooo