I came across this quote from Neil Gaiman today:
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
One of the fears we have (I have, anyway) is the fear of sharing our Secret World with other people and being judged by it. We can be afraid of being called insane or odd or freakish. That’s a big risk. We’re putting ourselves, our private, inner selves out on display for all the world to see and judge. Having a part of your innermost being judged and weighed and measured by others is not something normal people do. It is an activity normally reserved for the Egotist. The Attention Seeker. The Extrovert.
Does that mean that we as writers fall into one of those three categories? Are we seeking attention? Do we feel the need to Perform?
I don’t think so. While there are surely exceptions, I don’t think most writers write to say ‘hey, look at me!’ I think we do it more from a purpose based in sharing. Not ‘look at me,’ but instead, ‘hey, check out this cool thing…’ I found, I created, I made. The spotlight is more on the work than the worker. It’s not my impression that Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings for the attention it got him, but to show the world this fantastic place he discovered.
Anyway, Mr. Gaiman’s quote brought a multitude of feelings, mostly about how the same everyone is and how different writers as a group are. We get past, or ignore, the fear of being judged to share that special core of ourselves that most people don’t dare show others.
And that is remarkable.