This was the question that Anne Frasier asked many months ago but it's one of the blog posts that stays with me.

I did something off-handed when I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night last night. Took no more than 10 seconds of my time. Really, I did nothing.

The response I got was like a punch in the gut. All I'd done was forward a great review of someone's book to them, but I hadn't really grasped just how hard a time they were having right now. To be honest, the way some people have been lately, I almost expected to have my head severed. The last time I pointed out something (I thought) was of note to an author, they swore at me.

It got me thinking, and that led me back to Anne's post from last July. Are we just defective? Is borderline insanity or manic depression a requirement for having an artistic personality?

And is this why people get so testy when you don't follow all the rules and behave a certain way?

In part, I also got thinking about this because of Simon's blog post here, In at the deep end, surrounded by sharks, wearing raw-meat trousers. I think I understand Simon's dilemma. We authors work in isolation much of the time, and then when we're at functions with real, live authors some of us newbies are dying for a chance to really talk about our fears and worries...

I think we're really hoping someone will reassure us, tell us that it will be okay. And face it, nobody likes Mr. New Kid On The Block to walk in strutting their stuff, saying "look at me, aren't I wonderful?" Instead, we end up getting dirty looks and become even more insecure. "Mussed that up." "Made a lousy impression there." "That person will never speak to me again." "God, what a bumbling idiot I am." "May as well go for the capitol L tattooed on my forehead..."

I get that we have to present a certain image. I understand that confidence is important. But there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I'd rather be around someone still a bit insecure than with a head swelled the size of Texas.

I have no antidote for insecurity. There's someone other than Evil Kev who tries daily to cheer me up, and encourage me, and they've gotten me through some awful days. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Makes me wonder what others do when they get down.

But being politically incorrect, I can understand if nobody's going to share.

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Clinical depression (I've experienced it, too) seems to be part of the lives of very many people who write. I cannot offer guesses on which is the cause and which the effect. But I do feel that writers - of necessity - lay themselves open to rejection after rejection after rejection. It can be quite tough to keep trying - to maintain, in fact, one's faith in what one has written.
When I answered Anne' original question, I agreed that most of us have been broken, shattered, chipped by early experiences. But somehow, we managed to mend ourselves. This makes us lucky and stronger. I likened it to a lovely vase smashed into pieces. But sometimes, after the mending, the reasembled piece is more strangely beautiful than the original was meant to be. The scars are visable, and the pattern has become more skewed, random, spontaneous... it has been rescued from perfection and it is free to be unique. Perhaps, those of us who have seen awful things, known fear and despair at a young age but not been totally destroyed by it, get to a point where we have our characters face anything, and hopefully persevere


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