I, a mousey, terrified child yearning for appreciation — for some kind of confirmation that she’ll pass the test she knows she’s meant to, but isn’t quite sure she will — write to you in distress. This letter is a weird way I’ve conjured to find the security I lost about a year back when you read some of my written work and found it judicious to speak your mind on a post I co-authored with our friend Charles, an established writer — “Truth be told and it is a most unpalatable one: There will always be one of the two who is by far the better writer (even if he does dumb it down). However, I think it most commendable to encourage talent. And that you most certainly have done, Charles.” I don’t know just how it’ll come back, but I’ve vowed to try.
I write to you, not to seek anything from you, but to write about how I feel, and make it known. And hope that I will stop feeling debilitated by my own fears. It’s not that I haven’t been insecure as a writer before (you must know that, for you read the About page of my last blog). The problem is that my insecurity now has a name — Ursula.
My mind jets annoyingly frequent reminders to me about how my writing will find some unappreciative readers, who criticise it, tearing it to bits. It keeps analysing responses from people. The list is a lot longer than I’d care for, but I get by. Until I reach your name. Ursula. That’s when I wet my pants, not literally, thankfully.
You, Ursula, represent the monster I’ve known I’d have to live with. But now that the introductions are over, I am not so sure I am equipped to cohabit this world with you. I do not have the personal weaponry to evolve, regardless of what you will say (if you read my words). This frightening prospect stymies every effort I make to write and finish anything. I will, during my journey as a writer (or anybody, in fact), find many more of you — my critics. I want to be able to function efficiently in spite of the knowledge that you will be around to ignore or, if forced to respond, scathe.
It is said that in order to spar, you must first understand your opponent (you aren’t quite my opponent, but I had to use the word because better words fail me). I did visit your blog a few times last year and also read some of your comments on Charles’ blog to understand you. Unfortunately, I struggled to. And became even more terrified in the process. She’s on a totally different wavelength, I thought. My wavelength is shorter, less intellectual, I thought. So, I gave up.
Today, while I struggle with much more besides the time to write, your name springs up often. After trying in vain to shoo the thoughts away, I decided to write to you publicly just to air the cobwebs in my head.
A Struggling Writer.