Impressionable You and Your FAFL


Hello again. Have a lie-down on the couch. This may take a few minutes. We are going to travel back in time, to early adolescence or thereabouts.

The Universe is no longer as you imagined it. Everything you believed to be true is now somehow, well, not so much. You feel alone, isolated from others, and the infinite space around you is closing in. You're pretty sure that the malaise you increasingly suffer from is not only profound but also unique. No one, not a soul in the meaningless void knows how you feel.

Then somehow, all at once, in the quintessential flash of an eye, that all changes. Suddenly, there is someone you identify with, a cosmic soul mate sent from above to connect directly with you on every level. It's your Favorite Author For Life (FAFL).

Premise: Your entire imaginary literary identity is based on the first “serious” author you discovered via a classic retelling of myth or coming of age story. Your life's work has become the ill-fated process of recreating that "masterpiece" - only with you as "author."

These all too common symptoms typically present in one or two ways. In many cases, the late adolescent initially puts on the cloak of their beloved FAFL and then sets about furiously composing what is sure to be the most remarkable first work ever produced. Then, after several fits and starts resulting in a messy discharge of juvenilia, the would-be author re-retreats into a world of teenage depression, myopic introspection and premature writer's block.

Whether first experienced in tortured youth or not, symptoms typically present (again) in middle age, often in more serious form as the patient, who typically hasn't written anything but grocery lists for the preceding 20 plus years, is suddenly stricken with the conviction that her calling, all along, has been to emerge phoenix-like (again) as the gifted protege of said FAFL.

Newly emboldened, perhaps by some hormone disorder or the well-meaning but dishonest praise dispensed hesitatingly by friends or family, the patient will embark upon (another) frenzied attempt at authordom. Absent almost immediate success and personal glory, amidst bouts of adult depression, myopic introspection and premature writer's block, the mature patient will begin to seek out quick fixes, including, but not limited to:

  • Drinking

  • Joining a writers group

  • Hiring a book doctor

  • Drinking

  • Blogging about writer's block and not being published

  • Drinking

  • Attending conferences, workshops, and seminars about "writing"

While there is no known cure, some patients will eventually come to their senses and take up a lesser craft such as macrame or canning. In more extreme cases, the patient may attempt to transition to writing sci-fi or children's books with predictable results.


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