I often speak in generalities even though I usually am speaking only of my own experiences, which are the only ones of which I can be fairly sure. That I assume that what I think and feel is pretty much what everyone else thinks and feels is pure hubris. Yet I take the fact that you are reading this as an odd form of validation of my assumption.
So when I say that writers tend to be a needy lot, I speak with the authority of only myself while casting the wide net of generality in the hope and assumption that others—you, for example—may at least recognize this need for the approval of others, and that when the net is pulled into the boat, I will not be the only one brought up with it. It’s just that I tend to use writing as my principle form of seeking validation
There is no doubt that I would write whether anyone else read it or not, even if I had to do so on the sand of a beach or on the water itself, yet it is so important for me to write books and blogs in an attempt to get your attention; to jump up and down and wave my arms and come running up to you when you have far more important things to do, to tug at your elbow and say “Look what I did! Aren’t I clever? Aren’t I smart?” Even as a voice in the back of my mind adds, “Aren’t I officious?”
There are innumerable things in which I find myself sorely lacking. Self-centeredness is not one of them.
Where this sometimes embarrassing need for validation and reassurance comes from I’m not quite sure. I was my mother’s darling and my father’s pride, and I never had any doubt but that in their eyes, as in my own, the sun rose and fell on me. And I cannot even claim that this desperate need to be told I’m not as bad as I think I am emerged after my parents’ deaths.
As I have endlessly repeated, my suspicion is that it stems from my expecting so very much from myself, and very seldom in my life ever living up to my own expectations.
So when a friend compliments me (the pleasure in which is tamped ever so slightly by the knowledge that they are aware of my needs and may be doing it out of kindness), or when a reader sends me a message telling me how much he or she enjoyed something I’ve written, I am truly elated. (“See, Roger? See?”)
Dorien does not have this problem. He is totally happy with who he is and while he too is delighted by and sincerely grateful for any kind words he receives, he doesn’t really need to be constantly inundated with them. They come when they come, and they don’t when they don’t, and that’s fine with him. But I am rather like a beached whale which must be doused with bucketfuls of validation in order to survive.
And the only thing that enables me to continue on this endless search for reassurance without fully considering myself exactly the kind of total boor I cannot stand is my firm belief that you and I are really a lot more alike than either of us might care to admit. The major difference between us is that you, like Dorien, probably don’t feel the need to talk about it, and I won’t shut up.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).