We welcome WOW! blog tour author Tara Meissner today in celebration of her memoir: Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis. She is guest posting on what makes someone a writer–but believe me, she is definitely a writer, whether she feels it or not! What a brave woman to write and share with the world the story of her own psychosis and bipolar disorder. The cover states, “[This book] offers a raw view: a 33-year-old wife and mother swallowed by psychosis. The psychotic episode includes meeting Jesus Christ, dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, and narrowly escaping eternity in the underworld.
Casually called a nervous breakdown, psychosis is an entrapment outside of self where hallucinations and delusions anchor.”
In her memoir, not only does Tara write about when she was suffering from the psychosis and bipolar disorder, but she also writes about the recovery process and the people that stuck by her. This memoir is perfect for anyone who has ever had a mental illness or who loves someone who does. It is inspirational! AND YOU CAN WIN A COPY, after you read this beautifully written essay by Tara, “What Makes Someone a Writer.”
by Tara Meissner (Author of Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis)
Many writers are hesitant to refer to themselves as such, which makes me think about language and how we use it. In Latin “sum” (pronounced to rhyme with zoom) means “I am” and it is a complete sentence. I exist. I am. Sum.
I don’t enjoy telling people that I am a writer. And it always comes up in the most awkward way, in a conversation phrased as, “What do you do?”
I always say, “I write,” rather than, “I am a writer.”
However, people generally answer the occupation question of what we do with who we are. For example, someone might say, “I am a teacher,” rather than saying, “I teach.” It is hard for me to say I am a writer, because the word implies an arrogance, an audacity. Who am I to consider myself a writer worthy of transcribing my ideas?
Writing is just something that I do, sometimes in exchange for money, sometimes as a way to procrastinate, sometimes to create value in the form of accessible prose or poetry.
Writer is too broad a word, almost obscure. We can picture a journalist, a novelist, a columnist, or an author. People can somehow feel and understand those nouns, but a writer, well that is harder to define and picture. Yet, it encompasses the variations of writing that I have done throughout my career.
To be a runner, one just has to run, on the treadmill, on the beach, around the neighborhood, at a track. It doesn’t matter, just one foot in front of the other repeatedly. Writing is the same — word after word until you run out of steam or time, and then do it again and again.
A runner doesn’t have to place or even qualify for the Boston Marathon to be considered a runner. They just have to habitually run. The New York Times Bestseller list is comparable to an elite marathon, a measure for the master class.
Writing is a habit and to really be a writer rather than someone who occasionally writes, you have to put in the time and practice your craft — log the miles, create piles of pages.
Language is interesting when our verbs become nouns. The elementary school lesson of adding “er” to a verb to make it a noun comes to mind. A person who bakes is a baker. (However a person who cooks is not a cooker but rather a cook. Alas, I digress.)
The idea that someone is a writer as some mystical higher being or defining summary of purpose seems silly. One can simply add “er” to the verb write. Writing then isn’t so much about who you are as it is about what you do.
William Faulker said it better, “Don’t ‘be a writer.’ Be writing.”
What do you think? What makes someone a writer? Answer below AND enter to win Tara’s memoir: Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis!
About the Author: Tara Meissner is a former journalist and a lifelong creative writer. She holds a bachelor of arts degree and works part-time at her local library. Tara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Mike, and their three sons. She writes longhand in composition notebooks. Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis is her first book.