No one asks J.K. Rowling these questions anymore, except she probably gets questions just an irritating, such as “How much money do you have, really?” The “really” insinuating that there is a standing argument among the pop culture community speculating how much the HP series actually made and how much J.K. gets from residuals, whether or not she makes a percentage from Hermione action figures, etc. Even the famous have to endure annoying questions, but inquiries presented to the rest of us is not answered in People interviews or the back covers of your latest series. The public doesn’t know about “us” yet, and we have to tell them why we write, why we’re not famous yet, and if our novel has handcuffs like Fifty Shades of Grey.
But the Famous do not have to answer to the nay-sayers who arch an eyebrow when you answer that you’re writing a story about a half-dead woman who is out to get revenge on her two-timing husband, who found a formula for keeping human flesh incapable of decaying. If you got that answer from Stephen King, he wouldn’t get an arched brow; he’d get a four page interview in Reader’s Digest and back orders at Barnes and Noble. The Successful do not have to answer to the spouse or loved ones like we have, who butt in on our writing time to tell us to take out the trash, make dinner, walk the dog, pay the electric bill, fill the bird feeders, and run the neighbourhood kids off the lawn who try to spy on you in your studio, because they’d heard a rumor that you are really a troll that eats children for brunch with a side of spicy mustard. The Successful have all the time in the world to write, and why? They make a ton of money doing just what we do, but we haven’t been discovered for it yet, and once you make some moolah, you have a get-out-of-guilt-free card you can use anytime you want.
That’s what the rest of us believe, anyway. Whether or not it’s true, the Famous aren’t telling. Even though in our own little fantasy worlds, we are one of them, also; we have pretend conversations with Life Magazine; we're the greatest discovery coming up, and look out world, here we come.
In the meantime, we are left to imagine what it is like to be free to do our creative thing all day long without having to answer to anyone, not have to go to that nine to five job, where you’ll spend the hours doodling the subplot about how the half-dead woman puts a curse on the other woman and makes her sprout hair where there wasn’t hair before. And if someone sees you doodling in your cubicle, you’ll get that question: What are you doing? And you’ll sigh, answer truthfully, and be prepared for that predictable, suspicious arched eyebrow; because, after all: you are still among the undiscovered, and you have to answer to the world and dream of the day they’ll ask how much money you have, really?
Or you could just say you are making out your Costco list.