Hello, it is hump day and that means it is time for another installment in the life and times of Spineless Wonders intern, Angela Jin. This week, Dear Reader, Angela reveals how an unhealthy obsession with a certain genre of fiction might just be getting in the way of her career goal of becoming Editor-In-Chief of The World.
I have the structural integrity of yoghurt and every fibre of my being is being tentatively held together by my fear of failure. And if that makes you concerned, then I’m obviously joking. But if you can relate, then phew.
I have a wild case of imposter’s syndrome.
Every time someone around me says something even vaguely relevant to me, I am overcome with admiration and…panic.
There’s an underlying fear that I’m expected to match their achievements. And when they find that I am unable to, they will cast me from polite society and label me a fraud. And I will spend the rest of my days wandering the metaphoric wilderness of suburban Sydney, forbidden to look any writer in the eye ever again.
Of course, all this could be attributed to my natural anxiety and unrealistic expectations that I’ve set for myself. But it’s equally as much the fault of the myriad of talented people I am surrounded by. Must they be so accomplished and well rounded and have excellent tastes in arts and culture?
And it really doesn’t help that I’m obsessed with YA fantasy novels. No really, it’s my absolute guilty pleasure. I can’t seem to grow out of it. There’s something so ridiculous and exciting about the thought of a teenager saving the world from doom. It satisfies my craving for something easy to read, fun and adventurous, and magical.
I mean, I call it a guilty pleasure but that there’s nothing really wrong with the genre… though one does feel as though perhaps large publishers are more willing to ease the vetting process given how much money there is to make off YA fans? Maybe?
I’m not here to stir up controversial ideas, I’m just pointing out that… there’s a lot of flaming garbage in the YA fantasy genre to sift through before finding a work that is…above average. And on the very rare occasion…good.
I’ve read, or at least looked into, most of the most popular YA fantasy series in the last three years. Do you know how many I actually like? Two. Sorry, not two series, I mean two books. It’s a travesty. I don’t know why I inflict such torture upon my mind and patience.
And while I’m fighting the urge to burn books that are so poorly written that they make me angry, my peers are out there reading the likes of George Saunders, Maya Angelou, Murakami and so on.
Often, I feel as though my opinions are a little less important, a little less valid and thus a little unnecessary to voice. My peers are the current and future writers of Australian literature and I am somehow only a ghost in class, to watch as they grow and succeed.
While my poor brain is filled to the brim with overused tropes, problematic and outdated themes, and forgettable characters, my peers are able to quote…well, not Shakespeare, he’s not very trendy. But my peers are out there reading books that liven their minds and listening to music that fulfills their soul. And I just can’t connect with art in that way and it makes me feel a little bit lesser than. Not a Real Writer™, just…someone who writes. Mind you, I am a very good writer. I’m just not as well read as I ought to be.
I wish I could be pretentious. I want to be that snotty highbrow asshole who smirks inwardly when others mention that their favourite author is…well, I’m certainly not going to mention any names here, that’d be terribly rude of me.
Being a Communications major, I am constantly surrounded by raw talent. No really, my classmates have been published numerous times. But it’s not their accomplishments that most impress me. It’s really their go-to/can-do attitudes. My imposter syndrome has been made worse now that I’ve joined an incredibly talented and creative team at UTS (we’re currently in the midst of a battle to be the editorial team for UTS Vertigo next year). It wasn’t until this semester that I started ‘going for it’ and taking on challenges outside of my classes, but my teammates have been gung-ho and ready to take on the world with their art since the moment they could.
I know there are no right answers to these quandaries. There’s no use by date on my own talents or achievements. And I’m taking my own time to figure out who I am and how to get places. I’m disappointed that I’ve been playing it very safely for so long. So safely that I never challenged myself or even tried. But that stops now, right?
Watch me do things.
Angela Jin is an intern at Spineless Wonders and Communication undergraduate at the University of Technology Sydney. She’s been writing creatively since she was a child and daydreaming since she was a toddler. Her current obsessions include: her dog, drag queens and pulling out weeds in her yard.
Blog post feature photo credit: siora.pixieset.com