Oh dear, here comes the flurry of questions again. At a party, in an after-church conclave, at a dinner with friends. I cringe despite a resolution to relax. I paste an ‘I’m pleased to answer you’ smile on my face and inhale. Ready, set, go!

Most times the inquiries aren’t even questions but are suppositions and negations meant to corner a writer, who the questioners clearly consider a strange wildebeest. An airy-fairy word nerd incapable of… well, you fill in the blank. One thing that has been pounded into this burgeoning writer’s head is that you can’t head hop, so I have no idea what drives the inquiring mind to pelt me with questions. Envy? Curiosity? Pity/ Dread?

What’s your routine? Do you set a specific time, have a specific place, an assigned word count?

Faces fall when I don’t lock-step with “Yes” to each of these inquires. I rely on an oft-repeated phrase, “Writing is my elegant hobby, so I do it whenever I can, when I want, on this day or that.” The other person shrugs, unable to grasp the thought that discipline isn’t required, that creativity is a muse that never leaves me, and often compels. Since most are 9:00 – 5:00 workers and ‘on the clock’, and I’ve declared writing as an encore career, I guess they can not conceive of a person who writes without a whip lashing at their back, enslaved to the tax of productivity.

Where do you get your ideas?

Clearly, the questioners think that there are supermarkets with shelves and shelves of ideas which can be bought. Or else they can’t imagine that I pluck them straight from my fun-filled mind. Some are leery, very, very leery that I only engage in conversation to purloin lines from them… As if! Others are certain that I plumb news headlines.

Honey, I don’t want to read the headlines. I want to avoid them. I want to create a better world. I write from the heart.