I am not afraid of success. For some reason that idea makes me angry, makes me furious, makes me enraged. I can’t remember who said it, but it’s a commonplace that haunts me, that was thrown at me once, and I don’t even know what it means. Here it is: I am afraid of failing, of getting trapped in silence. Worse: what if I open my mouth to speak, or sing, and the song that comes out is croaked and broken, people can’t bear to listen to it, they wander away, and now they know two things they didn’t know before: how bad my voice is, and how much I wanted to be listened to. Wouldn’t it be better to bake cakes? Everybody likes cake. Isn’t this a fool’s game, the path of egomaniacs, narcissists, dreamers?
My writing practice is about becoming comfortable with that fear, touching its bristly, oily fur, running my fingers behind its ears, learning not to back away from it, learning to get past it, and sit down at the table and work.