From the movie High Fidelity.
I couldn't be called a professional critic by any definition - but am an active and avid reader and have a paralyzing fear of writing for that reason. I've described my reading style (macro vs micro) on this blog and why some books are frustrating to ENDURE because of it - and why, conversely, other books bring me so much pleasure.
I'm only 6 pages into Revolutionary Road and already, I'm WOWED by its density. Could I ever write with such mastery? I feel presumptuous even typing those words. And I think most writer-readers, and anyone in love with the ART of writing, can understand that feeling.
"The trouble was that from the very beginning they had been afraid they would end by making fools of themselves, and they had compounded this fear by being afraid to admit it." This quote from the opening pages of Revolutionary Road compelled me to nod my head in reluctant sympathy for the described Laurel Players and their collective fear that their seminal performance would fail. The only difference is that all I do is talk and write about that familiar fear - so at least it's not compounding upon itself, right?
It's daunting to know that you don't know much - and that knowledge of ignorance is crippling.
I've cited this Thomas Mann quote here before, but here it is again:
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." I'd have to add that it's no cake walk for active readers either.
Maybe it has something to do with my age and that I feel everything I write is somehow, or will be perceived as being, incorrect or foolish (I try not to betray any signs of that apprehension - but I'm writing about it now - so the cat's out the bag), because I LOATHE adamant inaccuracy and steadfast incompetence. In the presence (even the e-presence. read: commenting on literary blogs!) of those I admire, my tentativeness is amplified exponentially. I check and double check things and hope I'm making sense. But I'm in good company, Freud often fainted in the presence of scientists whose work he admired.
Whenever I do get around to CREATING something and submitting it to the court of public approval, I only hope it stands up alongside the kind of purposely written, dynamic writing that I so enjoy. In the mean time, I plan to continue, reading, writing, BLOGGING, and learning.