“So, we have a real live author for you guys.”
Those were the words (or a statement that was something along those lines anyway) that my editor said when she introduced me before an audience of high school juniors and seniors at the continuation school she volunteers at. About a month ago, she had the students enrolled in the drama class put on a stage adaptation (with my permission, of course) of one of the chapters from A Moment’s Worth. I was there in attendance, only to follow up afterwards by partaking in a three-minute Q&A session.
It’s that statement that gets to me, and maybe it even got to some of the students as well; that I was identified as an author, a real live author. For me, that’s a weird thing to process. The title of “author” has always sounded really pro to me; like a title given to those who are high up on a non-existing caste system. Not to mention that while the title is often used for those who produce written content- in particular books- the general definition of an author is anyone who is the maker/creator/originator of anything.
In addition, I’m also more accustomed to referring to myself as a writer. Not only is it more specific in definition, but it also allows for more flexibility into identifying what I write as well; whether that be books, short fiction, blogs, poetry, essays, etc. They all have their own individual titles, but writer seems fitting for the overall haul.
Still though, for the sake of the matter, let’s focus on the fact that in the most innocent way possible, I have every right to call myself an author. I already have a short story available online for purchase and download, and my debut novel is about to come out in less than two weeks. If ever in a conversation with anybody now, say at a social gathering or something of a similar kind, if they ask what I do, I can now say that I’m an author, with a palette of evidence online to back me up.
But aside from the obvious, what does this all mean though?
On a public scale, it can definitely be seen as a signifier on a number of levels; on social levels in particular.
With the fact that I’m of the millennial generation and an author, it shows that even for a generation that has grown up in a tech-savvy era, there are still those who can produce written content, as swiftly as writers who were alive in a different decade, century, or some other period of time where technology was otherwise very limited.
With the fact that I’m female and an author is a bit of a big deal. Not that there aren’t female authors already, but it seems that the number of them, availability to them, and content written by them seems very limiting. But given the circumstance where equalizing out the playing field between male and female is still going on, I guess it’s not too surprising. A few months ago, I had someone I know write a letter of recommendation for a scholarship I applied for, and he even mentioned in the letter on how it would be wise to support a “strong female voice” as an adamant contributor to the subject at hand for the scholarship. I had never thought of myself in that light until I read that, and in a lot of ways, I guess he has a point.
With the fact that I’m Hapa and an author may even be considered more expansive of a deal. Normally I wouldn’t bring my race into the mix, but I do have to consider the contribution that I would be making on that scale. Already there are limited number of Asian-American voices in the literary works pool, and to have someone of Filipino descent to appear with a written work of their own that’s ready for working people’s brains, that’s definitely a step-up. Maybe more so the fact that I’m a mixed race individual that may add to the conversation of limited diverse works even more, for it’s even rarer to see people like me writing and producing such content; and with the fact that it’s a subject matter that I incorporate into my book will help it even more.
I don’t consider it arrogance for being aware of what my debut onto the literary scene will mean. In a way, it’s better to be aware of it than to be completely oblivious to it.
On a personal scale, identifying as an author is a signifier in the matters of a life-long goal of mine finally coming true. Being as young as I am, I know that’s not saying much as opposed to someone who was around when the television was invented. However, for someone who’s known what they wanted to do since day one, to me, that’s even more of a big deal than the number of years I’ve been around.
Whether I identify as writer or an author to people, it just goes to show that what I have going on from here on out will have a definite meaning in more ways than one.