In my writerly life, I get a queasy feeling from time to time. Different things can trigger it—a book signing, an autograph, a compliment, an advert, etc. Usually, something nice anyway. This time it was the cover art for the German version of PAYING THE PIPER. A woozy feeling washed over me. It’s a lovely cover but there was one thing wrong with it. It had my name on it.
Oh, I wrote the book and there’s no mistake about that but it does feel weird to see my name on a book cover. It somehow seems fraudulent. We are talking about me being a writer. This was never the plan. I read books. Someone like me doesn’t write them!
Maybe it’s the dyslexia talking. It’s made me self conscious and given me a sense of unworthiness. What could be more ludicrous than a dyslexic author?
Yes, I know some of you will berate me for saying that but it’s the way I feel.
Naturally, being the paradoxical person that I am, I am also immensely proud of my books and stories. I hope that I’ll keep writing for the rest of my life. It’s what I want to do with my life. See! Paradoxical. I never said this would make any sense.
I have a bookcase in my office filled with just my books and magazines featuring articles and stories I’ve written. I look at it all and think, wow, I’m responsible for all that. I also look at it and think, wow, I’m responsible for all that. I think there’s been a terrible mistake. Is there someone I can speak to about this?
I suppose I’m a still a fanboy when it comes to books and I get excited by books and authors I admire, but when it comes to my books, I don’t believe I’m in their league. It’s no different when I’ve seen my books in the bookstore. I see them on the shelf or display and I smile, but it’s quickly followed by a blush of embarrassment.
I suppose I’m too close to my work. I can’t view it the same rarefied air as I can with other people’s books. More than likely, most authors feel that way. I guess it’s because a book is like a house. I built it from the dirt up and while the rest of the world sees a house, I see all the difficulties I went through in its construction.
Objectivity is a bitch that way.
I’m not sure I’m making much sense with this admission. Mainly because I can’t quite put a finger the emotion, probably because I’m experiencing two of them at once—glee and embarrassment which are held in check by stupity. I blame being English. Boasting is an outfit that never quite fits. I don’t think my people have the shoulders for it.
I not sure there’s a cure for this aliment. Dramamine isn’t going to cut it. I know I’ve tried. Time heals all wounds so it might be the cure I need—but for that I will have to keep on writing. J
“Maybe it’s the dyslexia talking.” Hmmm I am just guessing here since I don’t have dyslexia but there is a wonderful character in The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. She can read backwards and forwards and she talks about the delight of reading a book forward and then discovering a whole new book when she reads it backwards. When medical science “fixes” her she misses the gift. My point is, she and you see words differently because of your ability. Not a handicap but a gift. I believe most challenges are that way, they come as a blister and a blessing. Just my 2 cents. Please keep writing, even if it sort of embarrasses you.
I don’t really regret being dyslexic. I think I regret the lack of confidence it’s instilled.