So long as a person is focusing on when they will become famous, when they will be legitimised,
Dear Jack,
Dr Katherine Phelps
44

Now this isn’t quite the issue. I don’t actually want to be famous, and while I of course beam when people say nice things about my writing, I really don’t think that’s what I’m interested in, either. It’s not an external validation issue. It’s more like I have an internal editor, maybe a writerly version of Freud’s “superego,” that weighs and measures any proposed project and makes a judgement regarding it’s “worthiness” to proceed. It’s really a problem to be overcome. To feel guilty for wanting to write for fun uses the same weird logic as insisting a lifeguard should never swim for pleasure, or a house painter shouldn’t create art in his spare time. Said out loud like that, it’s ridiculous. I’m sure part of this, too, I got from college. I entered the writing program a young science fiction writer with a few publication credits in small press zines. 4 years later, I was still waiting for the words “science fiction” to be spoken in a non-pejorative way. I loved those professors, but they definitely made it clear that “great literature” was sacred and pretty much all genre fiction was profane. I may have been carrying an imaginary stodgy Literature professor in my psyche for the last 20 years. Oy.

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