I have always been a writer. I have been one who writes. I have written personal essays, monologues, scenes and even a play. But when does one really become a WRITER? Why have I given myself all sorts of other titles but not once said “I am a writer?” I’ve been thinking about this more lately because I am at the age of retirement and have been asked many times “What did you do before you retired?” Well, I’ve done lots of things. I was a cocktail waitress at the now defunct Chart House in Malibu. I was a tour guide at Universal Studios. I was an actress (if I count the two words I spoke in a Herman’s Hermits movie, the SAG card from 1966 that I still carry in my wallet, and the roles I had in high school and college plays). I was a new accounts representative in a bank. I was a secretary. I was a receptionist for a travel agency. I was a food critic for the Beverly Hills Courier (a throw away newspaper). I was a court reporter. I was a teacher at a court reporting school. I haven’t actually worked what I would consider a real job since I delivered my first child, so I am not retired because there was nothing I retired from. So I am now sitting down to write a story about writing, and I’m going to call it “Am I a Writer Yet?” I still don’t know the answer to the question. Should the answer be a person who writes? Or is a writer someone who gets paid to write? And if you’ve been paid to write once, does that make you a writer? For example, my mother, who studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, was an actress in one off Broadway show in the 1940s. Later she married, had children and became a housewife. During that time, she was in a few neighborhood plays and showcases for charity organizations and the country club. So while she was a stay-at-home mother, was she still an actress? Do you stop being an actress when you’re not being paid to act? I think a writer is a writer even when they are not writing, and an actress is always an actress. I think it’s not the published book or article that makes one a writer. I am a writer because of the joy I feel when I put words together. I am going to call myself a writer, and I will create my own destiny.