For most of my life, I’ve struggled with labels. I think I’m not alone in this.
Either I’ve been boxed in by others, or I’ve boxed myself into this label or that. I’ve been guilty of boxing others as well. Inevitably, at just the right time, if luck has it, the labels slide off into the muck and mire of true life. And when we are lucky, we get to choose our own silky ribbons instead of another unforgiving box.
“What genre do you write?” asks a writer when we meet for a glass of wine.
“Uh, well, I write fiction, poetry. Non-fiction. Sometimes, memoir, sometimes flash fiction, I’ve written a bit of creative non-fiction, some travel stuff. Once in a while, for kids,” I reply, pretty sure I haven’t supplied the politically correct answer.
“What about you?” I ask my new acquaintance.
“Oh, I write fantasy,” she answers.
Fantasy? Fiction? Is fiction fantasy? Fantasy is fiction? We‘re all making up stories.
Stories are one thing. People are another.
Conclusion. I am not a genre.
Define genre. A noun.
‘New Oxford American Dictionary’ at my fingertips: a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style or subject matter.
There are numerous synonym citations at www.thesaurus.com:
style sort species
In www.dictionary.com: a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: the genre of epic poetry.
My favorite, seen here at www.urbandictionarycom: an
label attached to music, movies,novels, etc. giving way to discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudice.
While I was reading and thinking and writing and pondering, a friend called asking me to pick up and bring to her the pain medication she’d forgotten at home that she desperately desired. Yes, I know I’m labeling her as a friend. Let’s not get too carried away here. She couldn’t leave work; she was in a lot of pain.
I’m in the car, sitting at a stoplight, looking around. A truck heading into the intersection to my right catches my eye. Big dark maroon truck. I don’t know if it was a Dodge, or a Ford, or a Chevy. One word printed on the sides and the back screamed right at me:
D E F I N E
It was a sign. A sign, I tell you. How often have you seen something like that and not known it was a sign?
You may not know that I’ve been blogging off and on for years, may not have seen much of it. I don’t have millions of followers. Yet. Some of my older pieces I’m not really happy with any longer. Typical of most writers.
During the past few years, I’ve created and followed my own internal blogging labels. Genre labels. One page for poetry. This site for essay. This one for non-fiction. That one for travel stories.
So, loyal readers, soon, I pretty much won’t be doing that. I’ll be here. In one place. www.writerpaints.wordpress.com. If I change my mind later, I’ll let you know. If you want the addresses of the pages that have come before, just ask. I’ll be happy to pass them along.
My intention is to review the old posts on the other pages. The ones I don’t outright delete,
I’ll retrieve and
redraft and/or revise
include them here.
I feel better already.
Oeuvre and out.