Once upon a time, a long time ago, when roses were still red and violets mostly blue, and everything was more or less as it should be, or managed to give a fairly convincing impression of being so, a famous writer Lauren Berlant (1957-2021) RIP asked you if you were a writer too, and you said, well I write, I am trying to write a book, yes, but...

You always thought people who go around saying they're a writer pretentious, especially when there isn't a book, published by a reputable publisher, with your name on the spine, as well as on the front, in lower case as you have specified, even if it doesn't have a cover that you like.

But she said, thinking of yourself as a writer will help you write your book. And she was right. And later, after nine rejections, which is really not that many, there was such a book and it was read and you were invited to speak about it and it made some money, if that's important. And people wrote to you to say that your book was significant for them. It even changed at least one person's life. And then you were a writer and you could say so without worrying too much about being pretentious. But that was then and this is now and now and now you know that being a writer is not about what you've written, and it's not about what you're going to write, or what you think you might write or might like to write, oh no, it is about what you are writing.

An old friend asked if I had any advice for him because he thought he would like to write. When I asked to see some of his writing, he said, well I haven't actually started yet, which made my brain melt a little, but the advice he needed was obvious: Begin!

And as it is in writing, and being a writer, so it is in life, probably: it's about what you're doing — and not doing of course — or not?

What are you doing?
I am beginning.