What if Toni Morrison Sucked?

Nathan Bransford recently posted a “You Tell Me” that revolved around writerly fear. This question and the resulting comment posts freaked me out. There was just a lot of fear listed there–some stuff that I hadn’t even thought to be afraid of. And, of course, the post made me wonder.

What is my greatest fear?

I’ll be straight with you: I’m pretty cocky. Sometimes obnoxiously so (ask any one of my writer’s group members…they won’t say it out loud, too loud, but they’ll tell you). When it comes to writing, there’s very little that I don’t feel like
A.) I’ve got fairly figured out, even if it’s just theoretical and
B.) I may not know but will learn.

However, underneath all that is the nagging little voice, that tiny tug at the edge of a conscience thought: You Suck. Capital Letters.

Right now, if we were sitting in a coffee shop across the table from each other and you asked me “What’s your greatest fear as a writer?” I wouldn’t say that I suck. Because I don’t. But I’m afraid that I do. Strange isn’t it. You know something is not true, but you’re afraid that it may be true.

I think it’s related to Bransford’s other recent post on Greenspan. This man knew he didn’t suck, had years of evidence to back up his theories, and BOOM! the economy tanks and he gracefully admits that he was wrong. It was all a bad idea, unsustainable, costly, troublesome.

What would that be like?

I mean let’s pretend that Toni Morrison, writer extraordinaire, Nobel Laureate, book after book published, Oprah loves her. By every definition this woman is “powerful beyond measure” as Marianne Williamson would tell us. What happened if she woke up one day and BAM! everything she did was suddenly considered weak, preachy, too much of a stretch? What if Toni Morrison woke up and discovered she sucked? (By whatever definition she considers “sucking” to be?)

Well, that’s my greatest fear. And since I don’t have a Nobel or even a physical book to my name yet, that fear seems way more justifiable than in Morrison’s case.

So, because Bransford has bummed me out (Love you anyway, Nathan!) I want to know what your greatest hope as a writer is. Please perk me up people!

Current Affairs Failure Writing Thoughts

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. That I can move someone with my writing. To laughter, tears, action.

    FYI, I refused to read the comments on Nathan's blog, because I was afraid I'd find things to fear that I hadn't thought of. Looks like it was a good call.

    My fear? That I waited too long to start. Closely followed by the fear that I didn't wait long enough–that I should never have started.

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