Describe me in a word?

An interviewer just asked me to describe myself in one word and I’m totally blanking on coming up with anything that doesn’t sound horrifically pretentious. Maybe I should just go with pretentious?

So… how would you describe me in one word? And while we’re at it, how would describe yourself?

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35 Responses

  1. Paul Weimer (@princejvstin)

    I love this idea.

    Mind, I’ve only met you a couple of times, and only briefly. Much of my experience of you is awfully virtual. (Although you are coming up to some cons up here this year, possibly?)

    Anyway, the word:


  2. Amanda Jensen

    My go-to word in such a situation is “librocubicularist” which means a person who reads in bed, and easily carries the connotation of a lover of old, bizarre words and therefore other old, bizarre things.

  3. Peter Orullian


    Smooth, with a kick.

    Also, first time we met, you were describing a whisky to Graham Joyce and me.

  4. Steve Buchheit

    Self promotion (which this would be) is always horrifically pretentious. Jump in the deep end, and then laugh. If you want to head off the pretentiousness, paraphrase a famous French Impressionist (whose name escapes me at the moment) when asked what he did.

    “Breathing”. Or “alive”, which ever you prefer.

  5. Julia Rios

    Storyteller. This is what you do with everything. You make puppets to tell stories, you make dresses to tell stories, you tell stories with friends over dinner, you tell stories when you narrate books, you tell stories when you write books…

  6. Mary Garber


    Because there’s way more to you than meets the eye.

    Me? Ugh. No, that’s not the word. I mean, how about “paradoxical?” Or “puzzling?”

  7. Claire Nail

    The first word that came to me was, “real.”

    If that’s not fancy enough for them, they’ll have to ask another question, and hopefully they’ll give you more than one word.



    1. Maria

      Eloquent. But then I am mostly familiar with you from Writing Excuses.
      Me? Hm. Can’t think of one for myself either, apparently.

  8. Ian Miller

    I’d say generous – generous with fans, fellow writers, talent, interest, critics. A general sense of muchness?

    As for me…I’d like to think that I could be described as “intense.”

  9. Sara

    Strange, but it’s the first word that popped into my mind – luminescent

    I’d probably describe myeslf as scattered.

  10. Sally

    Lovely (both inside and out, but you can’t say that about yourself)



    I also like “polymath”, “storyteller”, and looooove “dulcet”.

    Me? Hmmm… probably “lazy”. Is there one word that describes the condition of being a slave to cats?

  11. SC Payne

    I also like the response “human.” After meeting you, I described you as “completely delightful, fun, witty, super-intelligent, very engaging and interactive as a speaker, as well as very approachable.”

    I know that’s more than one word, but it seems like human fits the bill pretty well. Being approachable stood out to me the most.

  12. Shannon Leight

    UN-pretentious? 🙂 I only know you through Writing Excuses and your blog, so I don’t have a useful answer. Also, everyone else took all the good ones, which leaves it to me to be random and not very helpful.

  13. Heather Muir

    The first word that comes to mind? Clever. Because you truly are as far as your wit and wisdom, your resourcefulness, you’re the smart on Writing Excuses many a time. And Clever sounds very Britishy.

    For me? Tall.

  14. Meg Holmes

    I’d say you are “enchanting”. It seems to best encapsulate everything I know about you, your life, and your work.

    I am… “layered” might be the best description.

  15. Anne Burner

    I’m a bit late to the ball on this, but….

    For you…multi-faceted. You encompass more than just A word, but this might be a somewhat decent fit.

    Me…um, well. *coughs* Reader.

  16. Mike

    Mary, I met you once, in a land far far away(called Joisy). Then you were charming. I saw your special reading on behalf of Jay Lake a couple of days ago and I would say now, scintillating. Radiant doesn’t quite do it:::grin:::: Next year, who knows? Awe-inspiring?

    For myself, hmmmm……The Thinker (as in Rodin, as in on the commode).

  17. Sean

    Dramatic or Theatrical

    Your approach always seems to have a deep theater background. You are very aware that as a performer or writer you are presenting something to an audience. You want the audience to react in a certain way to the story you are telling.

  18. Todd Moody

    is as close as I can come. I have always admired your ability to see things from a different angle than most, and you have a gift for breaking difficult concepts down to an easier to understand level. I distinctly remember that first episode of Writing Excuses where you blew everyone away with your unique way of looking at writing.

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