This is hard for me to tell.
Hard for me to write. Which is usually a bit easier for me than telling.
And many of you will "get it." Oh, yes.
By now you've read my piece about the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame event we attended this past Sunday.
Can I tell you a personal highlight?
It was when Margaret Maron, friend and personal literary icon, introduced me to a friend of hers saying, "This is Kaye Barley. Kaye's a friend of mine. She's a writer."
I will always puff up like a banty rooster when Margaret refers to me as a friend. I'm that proud.
But, do you have any idea how this might have felt to a person who is, frankly, unable to refer to herself as "a writer?"
To be introduced to someone.
By Margaret Maron.
As a writer.
Did I cry? Almost. (well,yes, okay, I did get a wee bit teary . . . ). But I didn't burst into sobs. I would have if Margaret and I had not been standing there, holding hands, while talking to her friend. 'Cause I would have run off to some private little place and boo-hooed. Probably loudly. And since I've never been able to cry "pretty," it would have been nasty.
Then, riding home I was browsing through Facebook and saw a picture that Bob Witchger had taken.
A picture of me with Sarah Shaber, Katy Munger, Brenda Witchger aka Brynn Bonner, and Diane Chamberlain.
Most of you will recognize these women - writers, all.
And I started to cry a little. (Again! for God's sake).
Donald looked over and said, "Miss Kaye? (yes, he does sometimes really call me Miss Kaye), what's wrong?"
And I sobbed, "nothing."
This is when husbands have, I think, a hard time deciding whether to laugh, or roll their eyes, or pat you on the leg a little while muttering those little nothings meant to be soothing, or say, as Donald did, "Nothing. Really? Nothing. Well, okay then."
Knowing full well that I would spit it out.
And, so I did.
And he listened.
And then he said, "I don't understand why you can't call yourself a writer. This is the first I've heard of this. I tell people you're a writer. Why can't you tell them you're a writer?"
"I don't know," I wailed.
And, of course, I do know.
Sorta. Even though it sounds silly. Especially in this day and time, I think.
It's very hard to admit.
But, I did. Finally. For the first time, maybe.
I told Donald that it comes from all the years of self-published writers being the red-headed step children of the writing community.
And we talked about this.
But then, bless his ever-lovin' sweet soul, he took the time to remind me that my "Whimsey" had gotten some awfully nice reviews. Reviews from people who did not know me from Adam's house cat and did not know I don't (can't) call myself a writer.
And he took the time to remind me I've had a few juried pieces accepted in magazines and anthologies.
And, reminded me about how excited I'd been when I heard about being a finalist at Southern Writers Magazine.
No. Of course I had not forgotten these things. Of course not, but still - it is nice to be reminded of them.
Suffice to say, it was an emotional day.
It was also a day of creative motivation for me.
I don't know, truthfully, that I will ever be able to refer to myself as a writer when someone says to me, "What do you do?" The best I've been able to do, so far, is say, "I write a little."