It’s an old debate: are writers authors, or are writers writers? Technically, an author is a writer who has written, but most pros I admire abhor the word, standing on the argument that writers write — active tense — while authors merely enjoy having written — past tense. Me? I prefer something altogether different. Earlier in the year, at one of the workshops I attended, I recall mentioning to someone that we ought to start labeling ourselves as fictioneers. Folk who engage in literary derring-do. Anyone can write. Hell, look at the eighteen billion blogs and fan fiction sites around the internet. But not everybody can think up a story and type it onto the page — real or virtual — in such a way that it becomes entertaining for the average eye.
So, for 2011, I’m running with Fictioneer. It’s a handy, all-purpose word which properly expresses the nature of my job. It’s also a hat-tip to the pulp era, when the word was first invented and used (sneeringly) by the literary elite to put down people who told stories for fun and money. Nothing wrong with that, I say. In fact, it’s the whole gottdamned point of the enterprise.
Along with the new descriptive, I’m bringing in a new look. Somewhat self-portrait actually; yes that is pretty much what I look like at my writing desk, complete with pinned-up copies of the covers of the publications I’ve (so far) been in, with interior illustrations too. Probably I’ll update that cartoonish self-portrait from time to time, as whim and need arise. They say it’s good to establish a “look” for yourself; to stand out. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile — shamelessly copying the style of the great Berke Breathed, whose Bloom County comic strip is as hugely influential on me as that of any novel writer. Hopefully with a bit of practice, it’ll look a bit sharper, a bit more distinctive.
Meanwhile, 2011 is less than 48 hours distant. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done in 2010, not by half. But it was a grand year all the same, with several triumphs in several areas. Huge thanks to everyone who has been supportive. To everyone who visits regularly and posts comments, and to the new readers and friends that I’ve gathered.