Waiting to be found out


‘It’s come back.’

‘What has?’ says the book.

‘That feeling.’

‘You’re writing again, that’s great,’ says the book.

‘No, not that feeling,’ I say. ‘The other one.’

‘The guilt about not writing one?’

‘No, not that one either.’

‘The everything I’ve ever written has been crap one? That’s a good one, I like that one.’

‘Thank you very much! No, it’s not that one. Whose side are you one anyway?’

‘Which one then? I wish I was as good as X one? That’ll drive you mad, that one. No one is as good as X. Not even X.’

‘Not that one either. No. It’s the I am an impostor one. The waiting to be found out one. In spite of the books, and the poems, and the, the, well, stuff, that would purport to claim otherwise, that basically I am not who I say I am and am going to be found out quite soon. Maybe today. That’s the feeling I meant. You were right about X, by the way. I don’t think even X knows how good she is.’

‘Hm,’ says the book. ‘Tricky. Tricky.’

‘What are we doing? Channelling Notting Hill? I’m having a crisis here!’

‘Well of course, you say that,’ says the book. ‘But it’s not one really. Not really deep down. It’s actually normal what you’re going through.’

‘You think so?’

‘Absolutely. Completely normal. For a start, everyone feels it, everyone I know anyway. Even X feels it. And she’s won prizes. And secondly, everyone feels it.’

‘You just said the same thing twice,’ I say.

‘Exactly. So you would hear it. Everyone feels it. There. Now all you have to do is proceed. That’s the downside, by the way. You only make it go away -by the way, it never does- by moving on to the next thing. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.’

‘I think I prefer the impostor feeling more,’ I say.

‘I can’t help you, then,’ the book says.


  1. I’ve spent my life introducing myself as ‘an X but not a real one’. I have been a teacher but not a real one. A publisher but not a real one. An editor but not a real one. A poet but not a real one. The only real thing I’ve been is a mum, until I wasn’t. Now I am a granny and thank GOD my granddaughter says I am a real one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is the one, Ant! It was the imposter bit that put me in mind of Seth Godin, the ID. He talks about the fear of being a fraud. The reassurance of qualifications, but actually many famous artists (can’t remember who) have none.


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