Saturday, January 12, 2008

On Doctors & Writing by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

So yesterday I was at the hospital, having a procedure known as a stereotactic biopsy, and as I was lying on my stomach for an hour getting squeezed and tested, it came home to me again how lucky I am to be a writer, how lucky to live this life I live.

Lots of times, I hear other writers say that people aren’t interested in what they do. I always find that odd since, seems to me, everywhere I go people are interested once they find out. Even when I was on the phone trying to set up one of the earlier tests leading up to yesterday’s biopsy, when the nurse asked my profession and I told her, she started asking me questions about it. While this was going on, my husband was hissing at my side, “You’re calling about your breasts, and someone’s trying to pump you for info on how to break into publishing???”

Yet that’s the way it’s always been. Cocktail parties, airplanes, examination tables – people are curious, as if this thing I do that I can’t seem to not do is somehow as exotic as being a belly dancer. And yesterday was no different. The tech assistant asked what kind of work I do, I answered “Novelist” – because I’ve learned to take the more direct route, rather than saying “Writer,” which only leads to more preliminary questions – and we were off and running. The tech assistant, the doctor – the whole time they were squeezing me, taking pictures of me, numbing me and sticking needles in me, they had endless questions about my work and publishing and books in general.

You know what? I’m fine with that. Eighty-one percent of people responding to a New York Times poll said that they believe they have a book in them. And some days, it feels like I’ve met all 81% of those people. But yes, I’m OK with that. I love it that I do something that so many people feel connected to, whether they‘ve actually written or tried to write or merely still dream about it. I love it that there are people who feel connected to my work, even caring about the writer through it. I love it that I can lie on a table for an hour, the metal painfully sticking into my ribs, and be distracted by the interest of others in this seemingly exotic thing I do.

I am grateful, every day, to make a living doing something I love so much. I hope I get to do it as long as I draw breath.

[Note: As I was writing this article, I got the call: Me and my breasts are good, at least for now.]



As of January 2008, Lauren Baratz-Logsted has had eight books published in a variety of genres for both adults and children, the latest of which is Secrets of My Suburban Life. You can read more about Lauren and her work at http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/.

Read a review of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's How Nancy Drew Saved My Life on Roses & Thorns.

11 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'm so glad all three of you are doing well! ;o)

Write on!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Whenever I hear "I have three books in me!" I say, "Well, let them out!" *laughing* But, yes, the interest is there and I am glad. I spent an hour with middle school students the other day, and I was to answer their questions - I was afraid the questions would dry up after 10 minutes, but no! We went over the hour and had to stop the kids from further comment or question - I was humbled, and at the same time, I was proud.

It's a hard profession and at times an unforgiving one, but I am living the life I chose-or maybe it chose me.

Trish Ryan said...

It's amazing how curious people are about the writing life, especially compared to when I was a lawyer--then NOBODY asked about my work unless they'd recently been stopped for a speeding ticket they hoped to get out of. You're right, making a living this way is something to be grateful for.

Glad to hear you're okay!

Nannette Croce said...

It is so easy to focus on the tough parts of every job, even something as "glamorous" as writing. Bravo for admitting you are truly happy with what you do.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thank you so much, Angie, Kathryn, Trish and Nannette! Believe me, as you no doubt know, it's not all bonbons and feather boas, being a writer, and some days are tough. Heck, at least one thing happens most every day that is tough. But I try as much as possible to stay focused on the fact that being a writer is what I dreamed of all my life. Now that I'm here, I'm damned if I'm going to waste my time dwelling on the bad things.

Barbara Quinn said...

Thanks, Lauren, for being our first guest author on the YOG. We're thrilled to have had you here.Here's to a great 2008 for you.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thank you, Barbara - I really enjoyed being here! You're great, and so are R&T and the YOG. *smooch!*

Kathryn Magendie said...

*laughing* --I know that some people think I don't "work" when I say I am a writer - when I add "editor" they think maybe I work, but when I tell them I do it from home, they're back to "that's not a job" *laugh*

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Kathryn, I'll bet you look great doing all that not-work in your feather boa. Do you have a bonbon you could loan me?

Kathryn Magendie said...

*laughing* - I was going to ask you to pass the bon bons...

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Great minds, dear!

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