The problem with growing up with books written before 1950 is that most of them were written by authors with the privileged leisure to write books. I generalise, but as far as I could make out, the gentlemen had gentlemanly job titles (if any) like Professor and the ladies either lived by their pen, or on the family fortune, or on their husband’s income. If asked how L. Frank Baum or Lucy Maud Montgomery had fed, housed and clothed themselves, I would have assumed they received an income from the sale of their books. Perhaps they did, but what I did not know about was that there was a vast ocean of authors who never achieved anything like Baum’s or Montgomery’s publishing success. 

My inner script, therefore, said that–since I got A+ in Creative Writing–I was sure to make a living as an author. By the time I was 19, however, I had divined that this was easier to dream than to do, so I vaguely set my sights on an academic career. Sadly, I still laboured under the mistaken belief that if something is hard, you lack talent, and should find something to study that you are talented at, i.e. find easy. How disappointed I was to discover that Ancient Greek is really hard. I thought this meant I had no talent in it.  Needless to say, I swam in a lot of self-hatred and anxiety until I switched my major to English Literature. The A’s and even A+’s came back—because of My One Talent, I thought.  

I enjoy mining my mistakes to help other people, especially young women, not make them. To recap, the first mistake I explode in this post is that any but a minority of book authors make a living at writing books. The second is that your brain is made of concrete that has hardened in a certain shape and that you are incapable of learning things you find difficult so well that they become easy tak jak język polski. 

Praise the Lord

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