In describing my writing I use the terms aspiring author and poet. I have read many authors opine on when someone can consider him/herself a writer. Opinions vary but I decided that publishing a short story, novella or novel would definitely qualify for that title. It may also apply to someone who has completed a number, maybe one but probably more, of those works and feels that the idea the author wanted to convey and the story on paper is in a form that the author believes tells the story that was imagined. A friend of mine, J. Gunter Brett, has finished his first novel All Stars©. It is great. I enjoyed reading it so much and was actually sad when I finished it because I wanted to read more. I was so happy for him at crafting such a fine work. Whether it is ever published or not, I believe that book alone is enough that he should consider himself an author. Another person reading your novel, enjoying it because it is good and recommending it to others is certainly worthy of the title “Author.”
I had one short story and another short piece of fiction published in a high school project which the teacher told my class would include a work by each member. She told us that we could all say that we were published writers after its publication. That doesn’t count to me. I have no idea where my copy of Spectrum, the publication’s name, ended up. I do have a single short story that fits the criteria I set forth above. To me, that isn’t enough to remove the aspiring from in front of author or allow me to say I am a writer. I don’t know if there is a number of unpublished works I might reach that would change my mind about my classification. It really doesn’t matter so long as I don’t quit writing.
I do consider myself a poet and it has nothing to do with being published. I have written poems outside of class for almost twenty years. On two different occasions separated by more than a decade, I was moved to share my poems with the young lady who inspired my verse. The first time, a beautiful smile was accompanied by her telling me that these were really, really good. That I should do more.
The next time was even better. After much revision and reorganization I gave a copy of a poem which explained why my love made me feel the way she did and why I knew I would always feel that way. Circumstances kept me from being there when this was read. But when she said that, “No one had ever said anything like that to her. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever read and it made her cry she was so happy,” I really couldn’t have gotten a better response. Publishing that poem or a hundred more wouldn’t equal the joy I received that reply. So today, at the least, I am a poet.
Sante “Sonny” Boninsegna, Jr.
January 5, 2013
January 8, 2013