October 12, 2013 in Dag

Author or narcissist

Have you been into a bookshop lately? Or more likely, have you browsed through an online booksite like Amazon? What is the first impression that you get?

I know what I think. Lots of books.

It always gets me thinking. Thinking about why there are so many books. Thinking about what would be involved in reading them all. Thinking about the sort of effort that went into writing them all. Just thinking in general that there are so many books around.

With so many books already in print – or online – why do we need to make more? Are there really any new stories we can tell? Are there any more twists we can find to tell the same old story in a different way?

And, of course, I can’t help thinking about my own place in this puzzle. As a writer, why do I write? Why do I feel that I need to add to this abundance of books? Do I really have something new to say, on top of what has already been said, often by writers of substantially more talent and with deeper insight into the human condition than myself? Am I adding something significant to humanity’s body of work, or am I just adding to the confusion.

Sometimes I wonder whether we writers are just supreme narcissists. That we’re somehow imbued with this self-belief that our stories, no matter how tangled and mangled, are intrinsically worth reading. That the words we conjure are somehow deeper and wiser and wittier than those of our competitors.

Of course, I prefer to think that isn’t the case. And yet, I’m more than happy to override any self-doubt and push my work out regardless. I suppose I just can’t help it. In my mind, I’m not sure if I’m a narcissist or not, but I do know for sure that I am a writer. And that’s good enough for me. 

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