Silencing the Inner Critic

IMG_2154If you are not careful, station KFKD (K-Fucked) will play in your head twenty-four hours a day, nonstop, in stereo. Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on. You might as well have heavy-metal music piped in through headphones while you’re trying to get work done. –Anne LaMott


My very astute and oldest friend sent me this after I wrote to her lamenting a book I had just read was so beautifully written I felt it was ridiculous I ever write anything. Ever again. How could I even hope to meet the artistic and lucid quality of this particular writer?

I was fooling around on my computer rather than writing when Dr. Doctor held his phone up for me and showed me a meme featuring a seated and extraordinarily handsome man with the caption: “You should be writing.”

“This is for you.”

“But I can’t write, I’m reading. And frankly, what I’m reading is so beautiful that it makes me want to drop my pen and push away from the writing table. How could come close to these words.”

He rolled his eyes and then I turned back to my not writing canoodling on the Internet. I remembered then this exact book made me feel exactly like these twenty-five years before. But after a few months of despair, I went back to writing and completed the only decent piece of fiction I’ve ever written. A piece, turned down by at least 30 literary journals and magazines. I kept one of the rejection letters–a short note—because it buoyed my spirits and still does.

“Lovely and heart rendering fiction. I wish I could use it but this is a poetry journal.”

I should find my hard copy and re work it. I wonder where it would go now that I have twenty-five more years on this Earth. Who knows maybe someone “could use it” but only if I can keep KFKD from blaring in my ears.


About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
This entry was posted in Mud season, Not my writing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Silencing the Inner Critic

  1. Well said Laura, and exactly why I would not even consider writing publicly until age 50. Try working in libraries for 25 years and still feel like your writing is worthy of anyone’s time or attention!
    The answer for me was that only I can create my own writing from my own unique experiences. I am my own masterpiece, and no one else can write like me.


    • Laura says:

      “I am my own masterpiece and no one can write like me.” I may quote you on this in the future and it’s now my new affirmation! Thank you Laura!!


  2. And I stole your quote from Anne LaMott! Wow does that ever sound like me sometimes!


  3. That was an awesome quote by Laura Lee. I was going to say I pick up that station regularly then saw that and changed my mind! That’s beautiful. i like the “…only I can create my own writing from my own unique experience!”


  4. You are both GREAT writers! Enjoy your fabulousness while you can!


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