I have a secret life. It’s time I came clean about it.
Once, when I moved to a new place, over the course of a few weeks, I had strangers stopping by and asking for people I didn’t know. Sometimes it was late at night and the stranger was drunk, stumbling on the sidewalk. Other times, they were simply persistent.
When I told a huge behemoth of a man that I didn’t know the person he sought, he went to the back door of my house and started peeking in windows and knocking again. “Look, I don’t know the person you’re looking for,” I said firmly. “They don’t live here anymore, okay?”
Whoever lived at my place before…it was clear they worked at home. You know, freelanced.
The scary thing (and the cool thing) about freelancing is that you can be just about anything you want. If you’re working for yourself in a one-person business, you can be a freelancer. What’s your business? Well…what would you like it to be? Me, I’m a writer and an editor. If you read my blog, you already know that.
“I know you write and edit,” someone said to me, “but what do you do for a living?”
The question flabbergasted me, because the person who asked wasn’t a stranger. “I, uh…I write and edit. That’s what I do for a living,” I said.
Another time, someone joked, “So, you’re independently wealthy. Can you take care of me?”
“I really…really do…write and edit for a living,” I said. I don’t have another job that pays the bills. I don’t simply say I’m a writer and an editor, but really bag groceries at Publix. I really am a full-time freelance writer and editor.
When I lived in a little town in Pennsylvania that’s in between the Twilight Zone and Mayberry, I recall my nutty neighbor peering in the door and saying, “You’ve always been so quiet.” Eyes narrowed, brow furrowed, she was looking for something.
“Well, I’m a quiet person,” I said.
“But…really quiet. Nobody’s that quiet.”
“You know, you never know when somebody’s running a meth lab. It could be right next door, and you’d never know it.” She stared at me suspiciously, as if waiting for me to sweat, or confess, or run into the basement to turn off the burners. Or…whatever it is you do if you have a meth lab. I don’t know, because I’ve never had one.
Over the course of the last couple of years, something began to dawn on me. People ask me funny questions. They get real close and they whisper, as if I’ve got a secret, something they want, something they can pay for.
I envision myself leaning real close and whispering back, “I could write an article for you. You know, about the latest in mobile electronics safety equipment. Or, I could write you an article about recent changes in the automotive industry. Or, I could write you a novel. Is that what you’re looking for? Would you like that?”
The imaginary person frowns, backs up, says, “I thought you sold, uh…” He glances behind him, then back at me. “Never mind.”
So, there it is. The truth. I’m leading a secret life.
I’m a writer. Hope you’re not too disappointed.
But if you’re looking for something else, I might know a guy…