Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Bottom Syndrome - Joan Lennon

We are told confession is good for the soul, but I'd rather not look too closely at the ways in which confession, blogging and narcissism overlap ... so I won't. Instead I'm going to look at a Syndrome from which I suffer - and when I suffer, you can be sure those who have to deal with me suffer too! I've called it The Bottom Syndrome and its catchphrase is "I could do that!" It presents like this: tell me about any kind of book that is doing, has done or just might do well and I am immediately overwhelmed with the thought "I could do that!" I can imagine myself writing anything. This is not based on evidence, of course. It's just the way I feel!

Treatment for a syndrome of this sort would probably involve extensive periods of writing all the things I'd be no good at, and since I can't find enough time to write the things I can and I can't see me ever making the effort, I will doubtless never be cured. After all, it's a more or less harmless malady (thought irritating for onlookers). That said, if there are other sufferers out there, I'm willing to form a support group - Bottoms Anonymous. Yes, I could do that.

"Let me play the lion too ... I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any suckling dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale." Dear Bottom.

P.S. The picture is by Arthur Rackham.

4 comments:

Penny said...

Recognise this in myself, Joan, and am instantly attracted to anything that's a new writing experience, often on hope alone. (Animation scripts? Certainly!)

Although this Bottom tendency may also be the way a writer gradually discovers their own individual writing voice.

ps. If this appears in minute font size, the answer is "I don't know why."

Anne Rooney said...

I'll join! It's also a bit of the grass being greener - writing anything other than the thing you're writing right now always looks appealing :-) But sometimes the new thing sticks and you add another string to your bow, so it's not a bad syndrome.

Paul Lamb said...

I've had these thoughts too. I specifically remember reading a Saul Bellow novel and saying to myself, "I could write this. I know all these words!"

mewmewmew said...

I'll join! It's also a bit of the grass being greener - writing anything other than the thing you're writing right now always looks appealing :-) But sometimes the new thing sticks and you add another string to your bow, so it's not a bad syndrome.



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