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I-am-a-writer…I-am-a-writer…I-am-a-writer. My mantra. I imagine Deepak Chopra’s deep, melodious, accented voice intoning it. I close my eyes. One deep breath, two deep breaths …three… No, it’s not working. Some days it does. But not today. I know why. That brilliant (I never heard that word used so freqeuntly until I moved to Toronto. I ask you, are there really that many brilliant people here?) literary agent from next door and her esteemed client (even I recognize him) are sitting at the table across from my behind-the-coatrack one.

She’s gushing. He’s beaming. They’re both erudite, clever and using words that seldom appear in my spoken vocabulary. Every time she comes in I have an impulsive urge to hide my computer, slink under the table or start playing Freecell. They don’t look my way.

Damn. Why should I feel intimidated…shy…apologetic about my writing? Haven’t I been tap-tap-tapping at the Tik Talk cafe almost every day for the past two years. Have I not produced thousands of words…hundreds of pages (well at least two)???? Did I not fulfill my contract with the Editing Company? You bet I did. Even Beth, my high-standard-in-all-things-writing editor was pleased. So why wasn’t I?

I know why. It’s that nagging, self-doubting Annie who creeps out every time some academic or literary type start pontificating at the Tik Talk. There are many. I’ve tried humming to drown out her voice just like I used to do with my brother, Tommy, when he teased me. It didn’t work then. It doesn’t work now. It’s hard to ignore her. She’s been around for a very very long time.

Ever since I read the words “Writers Write” she has taken on the mantle of convincing me that I had no right what-so-ever to call myself a writer. Why I took those words so to heart is beyond me. I understand the logic of them. Duh. If you don’t put words down on paper the next Great American Novel…or even the Canadian one for that matter…will not be written. She argues her case that for ten years, a decade, for heaven’s sake, I didn’t write a word. Isn’t that proof that I am not a writer.

Her doubting self tried her best to sabotage Women in the Office. She had a very good chorus behind her with the academic murmuring-ex-husband. They would take turns or sometimes sing in unison questioning my authority to write this book. After all, who was I, Annie Eyerman, to write about work issues? What did I know… other than the stuff I picked up working in offices for what seemed like half my life. I believed them when they said … leave that to the academics. The writers. They almost had me there. But they were no match for Beth and her post-its.

But even now…when I am writing she butts her negative self in. It’s too much.

So you know what? It’s time for her to go. I’m getting tired of her. There I said it. She doesn’t fit anymore…like that green-mini skirt I loved as a kid wouldn’t fit with my varicose-veined legs. I’ve outgrown both of them. She snickers knowing she’s not really going anywhere. But I am. I know I’ll let her doubting ways back in now and then, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe her. Eh?