Being a Writer in a Community of Writers / by Kate Vieira

Why is it so hard to stand up and say you're a writer?

I spend most of my working hours writing. I've published a book. I am working on getting two more out the door. I teach writing. I study writing. Last night when I couldn't sleep and I felt that familiar panic creeping up from my gut to my throat, I made myself a cup of chamomile, found one of the two remaining pens in my house that had ink, and communed with my ghosts in my journal. I quieted them. And slept.

Yet when I say I'm a writer there is still a part of me that waits for God to thunder bolt me back into my place. A reader, yes. A writer? Me?

There is a kind of audacity in owning that identity, that power of calling worlds into being coupled with the vulnerability of letting your words loose.

When Rita Mae Reese, the poet and Vice President and literary arts director of Madison, Wisconsin's Arts and Literature Laboratory, asked to interview me for the ALL website, I thanked her for making me feel like a writer.

Making each other feel like writers , she said, is what a writing community is all about.

Here is the interview, in which I was--am?--a writer in a community of writers, which feels something like love: Interview with Kate Vieira.