Question for the Author

What difference do you perceive between being a writer and being an author?

I’m not going to mention who asked this question but I will say it touches on a type of snobbery that I’ve never found appealing. The implication is that being an author is in some way superior to being a writer and I’m never impressed by levels of self-described superiority.

It’s the same when people tell me my poetry isn’t really poetry because it’s written to entertain and it often includes rhyme. Just because the material that someone else produces is written to be inaccessible and obscure does not mean they’re correct in describing levels in these presupposed hierarchies.  

Apparently, Truman Capote, on learning of Jack Kerouac’s habits in putting words on the page, said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” When I first heard this comment I thought it was remarkably erudite and witty. Nowadays, I’m more tempted to think Capote was one of those snobs who believe their material is superior, and then use the club of that perceived superiority to bludgeon those whom they think are beneath them.

All of which is my way of saying, writer or author, poet or ditty writer, talent or hack: if a person is putting words on the page to a standard that they’re happy with, they should be able to call themselves whatever they want. And no one should be able to pass judgemental comments denigrating their talent.

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