Martha Wells (marthawells) wrote,
Martha Wells
marthawells

I've been re-reading the Nero Wolfe books lately. I first started on them in 1998, when I was writing Wheel of the Infinite. Then my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers, and I got blocked on the novel. (I finally finished it, but I've never been able to read it since it was published, and every time I look at it I think of my mother and the Alzheimers.) There were a few other major stressful things happening at that time, and they all seemed to feed into each other. Somewhere around then, The Death of the Necromancer was on the final Nebula ballot, but in all the haze of stress that seems like a dream sequence.

But as I've been re-reading the Wolfe books, I'm noticing something else. I don't remember any of them. I remember buying them, liking them, buying more of them. Some of them seem familiar, but that's because of the Timothy Hutton TV series, which I have the DVDs of and have watched several times. In a way it's good, because yay, new (to me) Nero Wolfe books. But I wonder what else dropped out of my memory back then.

Quote from The Father Hunt, which reminds me of how much I hate labels, stereotypes, and sweeping generalizations:

Wolfe was frowning at him. "If you please, Mr. Jarrett, no labels. Labels are for the things men make, not for men. The most primitive man is too complex to be labeled. Do you have one?"

"No, but I can label any man whose faculties are concentrated on a single purpose. I can label Charles de Gaulle or Robert Welch or Stokely Carmichael."

"If you do, don't glue them on, and have replacements handy."


***

I was talking to someone last night about impostor syndrome, and thought I'd repeat it here. Impostor syndrome is that feeling that even after you succeed at something, you feel that somehow your success isn't legitimate, and that you will eventually be "found out" and hounded out of whatever it is you're doing. It doesn't make any sense and is totally irrational, but that doesn't stop tons of people from feeling that way, especially writers. One of the first people I remember talking about having impostor syndrome was Damon Knight, on the old GEnie bulletin board system, back in the early 90s. He still had it.

Unless you hear someone talk about it, you think you're the only one who has it, but I've got it, too. Even now, knowing about it, you probably think everyone else who feels this way just has impostor syndrome while you really are an impostor and will someday be found out, etc. It's insidious, but common.
Tags: book rec, writing topic
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