As an undergrad, like a good English major, I attended all of the literary events. Only, I usually went alone, and sat by myself in the back.
When an author would finish a reading, plenty of students would stick around to chat. Even though I would have liked to do the same, I always left right away, as if none of it mattered to me. Playing it cool, I thought.
Now, I realize I was mostly just shy... and perhaps a bit of a snob-- I'll admit it. I had this thing about people calling themselves "writers." It bothered me. I was never comfortable calling myself a writer, so I hated it when I heard people "less writerly" than me say they were one.
For the most part, I wrote a lot and submitted stories to journals, but all in secret. Only very few people knew I regularly submitted my writing. I got a lot of rejections, and after 2007 or 2008 I pretty much stopped writing for a few years.
Fast forward to today, an MFA student at San Jose State, still somewhat uncomfortable with the "writer" tag. Why? Dunno. But then, the MFA director said something that changed my mind:
I listened. It sunk in. Maybe that's all I needed-- a little pep talk, a little push. To actually take part in a community of like-minded people, people who want to write-- people who were writers. So...