There are too many AJs. There are so many of me that I think it’s quite ridiculous.
There is the original me, the one people at my sons’ school know, the one who does the groceries, who takes the kids to basketball. The one my close family and friends see, sometimes neat and tidy, other times a mess. At times in control, at others crumbling under the chaos life can throw. But always one who is doing for someone else, not herself.
Then there is the writer me. This AJ is at times full of self doubt but always brimming with hope. This is the AJ who is selfish, taking time for something, even if in the immortal words of Harry Zimm (Get Shorty) the writing that pays best is ‘ransom notes’.
To quote one of the most famous of our craft:
I begin already to weigh my words and sentences more than I did, and am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Store closet it would be charming.
Letter, January 24, 1809, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen’s Letters, Oxford University Press (1952).
My self-doubt has lessened, and my confidence grown. I CAN do this! I’m proud of what I write and I need to start trusting that others will like it too. And understand that this writer is just me, AJ.
So, as my confidence grows I hope the numbers of AJ’s reduce, until there is just me left.