For a long time I knew that I enjoyed writing, but I never really considered myself a writer. To add to the confusion, most of what I was writing was lyrics for songs I was composing or the books for musicals I was working on. A writer to me meant someone who wrote books or articles and it seemed like a bit of an untouchable group of elite. I still remember saying to people, “I write, but I’m not a writer.” Why not?
There seems to be this need to categorize things based on preconceived notions we have. It’s innate in us as a species and something quite unique to the human race. A writer is someone like J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien who has been successful enough in their writing to have been published and have their books read by millions of people… right? So were they not writers before they were famous or had a book that a bookstore or Amazon would sell? Just… “people who write?”
For the elite few who are bold enough to consider themselves “Writers” and not just “people who write” there is this unspoken pressure or exclusion of those who aren’t as successful at it or don’t consider it a huge part of their life. The same can be said for a big event that was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada this year: World Pride, 2014. This is a celebration of the LGBTQ… community, which is diverse and many wonderful people are a part of it. A celebration of the journey that people who don’t conform to heteronormative societal values have had to embark on to be considered “equal.”
For a long time I boycotted this celebration because it arguably reflects a lot of the negative stereotypes that can be associated with the LGBTQ… community. This year I decided to dive in and experience it with fresh eyes and an open mind. My discovery was simple: We should be proud to be humans. For me this World Pride celebration was about more than defending the rights of a population that has been ridiculed and unfairly judged for too long, but about the unifying power that our free will and rational thought give us as a species.
There are so many more categories that could be made for people along the sexuality spectrum, and give us time… we’ll make them. But for once I didn’t feel those divisions. Even within the LGBTQ… community we have divisions (L…G…B…T…Q…etc) and then divisions of those divisions. But ultimately, the labels didn’t matter, and it was about being proud to be humans and have the ability to love and appreciate each other no matter what.
When there are so many categories we feel we have to be slotted into one and if we don’t fit, then we are somehow of lesser value. The same can be said for people who write. Editorial, magazine, novel, graphic novel, short story, poetry, blog, cartoon, screenplay, script, lyrics, etc are all divisions of writers and there are many more. But what about people who don’t consistently do any of these, or find joy in many different media of writing?
I guess my point is that we should not be so protective of the title of “Writer” because what is to be gained from having such an exclusive club. Walking down Church St in Toronto during World Pride, you would find it difficult to locate one person with a frown on their face- everyone was smiling and laughing… enjoying the company of their old and new friends. By forgetting these arbitrary labels and using our free will and rational thought, we can spread acceptance as broad as the spectrum of our differences rather than exclusion. The world of writing could take a lesson from this kind of celebration. We are a community.
No matter the style of writing, no matter the number of publications, and no matter how often we write. We are human and we can choose to be proud to be part of a community that in turn will support and nurture our growth and development. I am a proud writer. Are you?