Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Just like so many other authors and writers out there, I have spent the past few years living split lives; having two personalities, if you will. In one life, I'm Mia Thompson, Author. In the other, I'm nameless and merely one of many employees who works eight hours a day, then picks up their modest paycheck every two weeks.

The general public may not realize how many of the authors they see on book shelves are still nurses, accountants, store clerks, and waiters. For most of us, writing is our passion, and work, only something we do to feed our needy bodies, pay our pesky bills, and afford clothes other than the PJ's we wear in front of the computer.

Meet the Author

I often feel I'm living two secret lives. At my day job, creativity is not welcomed. The rules and orders we are given aren't meant to be bent or questioned, but followed to a T. Me, and the girls I work with, are not expected to be talented, intelligent, or to know the difference between who and whom. We are simply there to be friendly and fun while we execute Corporate's will.

I hardly ever mention to my customers that I'm an author. When I do, it seems to confuse them. Perhaps it's because they feel I don't look like an author (whatever an author is supposed to look like?) or perhaps, it's because I'm working and not sitting in front of a desk with a quill in my hand, quoting Whitman. Often they look at me as if I have ruined they way they see the world: a place where nurses are nurses, accountants are accountants, and the guy who picks up your trash will never be the one to write the next Great American Novel. Because of this, I find it easier to pretend that during nine-to-five, the author doesn't exist at all.
What our costumers and clients rarely know, is that while we scan your groceries, drawn your blood, calculate your receipts, and wipe the crumbs off your table, we are miles away. We are actually adventurers, spies, warriors, aliens, and kings of places you've never heard.

Meanwhile, at my other job, which I like to refer to as my career: My mind and my creativity are my most prized possessions. The title Author, automatically comes with a stamp of authority (whether you feel it's accurate or not.) You are the brand. Without you, the writer, there is only a blank page.
So, just like I don't mention that I'm a writer at work, I don't mention what I actually do for a living, as an author. In every blog, tweet, and interview, I shy away from the subject. Why? Because I don't want to ruin any possible image the reader may have of me and my books.
What the reader rarely knows (with the exception of NY best sellers) is the author they love, might be the very same person who sacks their groceries, draws their blood, and picks up their trash.

Living these two lives: the worker, the author, is much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...minus Hyde's tendencies of beating people to death, of course. In each of the two personalities hides another. Behind Dr. Jekyll's smile, there is a creature with a deeper will waiting to get out. Within Mr. Hyde's wildness, there is a calm, presentable, man waiting for his turn to come out and be social.

Perhaps, a comfort, to me and my kind (author-who-are-yet-to-live-off-their-writing) is that one personality could not live without the other at this moment in our lives.
Perhaps without the mindless jobs which pay our pesky bills and feed our needy bodies, we would not own the same ability to dream ourselves away at will.

Mia Thompson is the author of an internationally bestselling New Adult Thriller series.  Her first two novels, STALKING SAPPHIRE and SILENCING SAPPHIRE, were published by Diversion Books in 2013.


Peter Hogenkamp said...

You pretty much summed up my whole life--well-said, Mia.

Mia Thompson said...

Maybe we'd miss working, if we stopped, Peter? Or...at least this is what I usually tell myself.

Sue Coletta said...

I love this post, Mia. Well said.

Mia Thompson said...

Thanks, Sue :)

Eliza Cross said...

I suspect many of us work in various ways to support our writing, but you have such an impressive author platform and I think it's only a matter of time before you quit that job and write thrillers full time! Thanks for a great post.

Mia Thompson said...

Awwe! Thank you, Eliza! Right back at you :)

Susan Clayton-Goldner said...

I think many of us writers feel that way, Mia. Thanks for making me feel less alone on this writing path.

Mia Thompson said...

I'm so glad to hear you say that, Susan!