I hate that question.
Don't get me wrong - I don't wander up to random people in the street and say, "I'm a writer, don't you know?", but sometimes it comes up in conversation that I like to write. Usually it's because the question has already been, "What do you do?", and when I tell people that I work part-time (14 hours per week), they wonder - aloud and incredulous - what I do with the rest of my time. And I feel compelled to tell them that I write.
So, then the question is, "So, what do you write?"
They ask probably because it's expected, to show an interest, and that's great. I'm not knocking the question. I'm knocking my reply... which is always, "Er... stories, modern stuff, um... just stuff.... er, I like to have a few murders."
"So, you write crime?"
"Er, no... it's..."
I admit that I'm not very articulate for a writer. These poor people turn away at this point, mentally patting my head and saying, "Well, good for you."
The reason I'm thining about this question this morning - and I do realise it's a strange thought for a Monday morning, but it's my day off - is that last week I wrote the word surreal on this blog and the more I've thought about it, the more that seems to sum up my work. It's also a word that defies further explanation, so from now on that will be my answer!
(Due to the way the universe conspires for its own amusement, the stories that I've had published over the years are not surreal - they are incredibly rooted in real life... So perhaps the surreal stuff is rubbish...)