And now it’s time to start panicking.
After months of writing, rewriting, and dealing with a minor technical glitch with Amazon’s publishing platform, the first installment in my new mini-memoir series, “Secret Identity: My True-Life Adventure as a Superhero,” is finally available! At last everyone will be able to read what sort of idiot I was as an eight-year-old boy growing up in Northeast Wisconsin. (Answer: The kind who snuck out of the house to fight crime as a masked hero like Batman.)
So why the panic? It’s pretty simple.
What if people think I’m weird?
Well, I guess that would be normal. People have thought I was weird my whole life.
What I mean is, what if people read this thing and look at me like maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to walk around in public without a doctor’s supervision? What if they think I’m crazy?
I’m a first-time memoirist, so this is all new to me, but I’m told by friends of mine who’ve been doing it longer that this is not an unusual sensation. After all, this is the story of my life. I don’t always look good in it.
It’s one thing to put a work of fiction out there. If people don’t like it, they can insult my skill as a storyteller or my creativity, but there’s a level of distance there.
But this is my life. If people don’t like it, they’re judging me not as a writer but as a person. That’s scary!
On top of that, I’ve deliberately written this memoir as a series of comic essays. They’re supposed to make the reader laugh.
So what if they’re not actually funny? Does that mean I’m a poor comedian? Does it mean my life wasn’t actually funny — that something is wrong with me for thinking so?
Life as a creative person is a constant battle against crushing self-doubt. Writing a memoir is inviting even more of those sinister demons out to play.
But in the end, I thought there was something to this. People like reading memoirs and people like reading comedy. So maybe some of those people will like reading mine. And there is the always interesting exercise of trying to put past events into some sort of perspective.
So I’m releasing my true-life adventures into the world. People may judge me, but they always have.
Hopefully, a few of those verdicts will be positive.