Writer: A Profession Like No Other

Brenda had just completed all the revisions on her novel.  She’d been working steadily on it for three and a half years and now it was finished.  She felt elated as well as lucky. At a writer’s conference, when she pitched the book to a well-known publisher in New York City, the editor asked to see it.

It was past midnight. She went to bed.

The next morning her sister called. “I’m having a bar-b-q for the family,” she said. “Do you want to come?”

“Guess what?” Brenda said, “I’ve finished my manuscript!”

“That’s nice,” her sister said. “What do you want to bring?”

“I’ve got a publisher and I’m sending it this morning to the editor.”

“Bring potato salad. Our mother’s recipe.”

At the bar-b-q Brenda placed her potato salad on the table and took off the plastic wrap over it. Her aunt who was standing next to her said, “How have you been, dear?’

“I’ve just sent out a manuscript to a publisher.”

“It’s nice to have a hobby,” her aunt said. “Your potato salad looks good. Is that your mother’s recipe?”

Then a cousin whom she hadn’t seen in a long time spotted her. “Hey,” he said, “How it do, Brendy? Long time no see.”

There were reasons for that, Brenda thought but was keeping them to herself. No sense ruining her sister’s bar-b-q. “Yeah, well, I’ve been busy writing my crime novel. I sent it out yesterday.”

“No shit, Sherlock. I always thought I could write a novel. Can’t be too difficult. I’ve got a few crazy tales up here myself,” he said pointing to his head.

“I bet,” Brenda said. “Excuse me,” she told her cousin, “I have to talk to grandma.”

“I heard you say that you finished your manuscript,” her grandmother told her.

At last, someone in her family was taking an interest in her writing.

 “I did, grandma,” Brenda said glowing. “Three and a half years and I finally sent it out.”

“Oh my, how many pages is it?” her grandmother asked her.

“Five hundred and thirty,” Brenda said. “Double spaced.”

Her grandmother’s face lit up. “Do you have any ruined sheets?”

“What do you mean?”

“I just thought that maybe if you had any extra pages that didn’t come out you can give them to me to line my budgie’s cage. Newspaper is so messy.”






6 thoughts on “Writer: A Profession Like No Other

  1. Writing a novel is very much like making potato salad.

    A little too much mayo and it ruins the taste.

    Not enough, and it’s dry.


      • Hellman’s works pretty well.

        I actually like the German or Polish potato salad recipes…they don’t use any mayo.

        Polish novels are pretty good too. Sienkiewicz is well worth reading.

        Germans, well, I suppose Heinrich Boll and Hermann Hesse are OK in a pinch.


      • Another great Polish writer is Adam Zagajewski…”Woe to the writer who values beauty over truth.” (Another Beauty)

        As for German writers W.G. Sebald is fascinating because he uses the four-part musical structure in The Emigrants.


  2. Carol Ann,
    That response from her grandmother made me want to laugh and cry at the same time! Good luck to Brenda for wanting to get beyond producing family recipes!
    P.S. I love the way you convey people’s personalities in a few snippets of dialogue.


I'd love to hear your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s