The Third Something

108 / Fear Takes The Floor

This week’s letter is from a special guest writer

A drawing of Adam’s fear in black inl

Adam isn’t writing today’s letter. Instead I’m writing it. 👋 Hi, I’m Adam’s fear: the part of his brain that is terrified of everything. He’s given me a whole letter to myself and he told me I could write about anything I wanted1. As I’m his fear, the only thing I really want to say is how petrifying everything is and how it’s all on the prescipice of going horribly wrong. I love Adam very much and I wish he’d just stop with all the art-making and newsletter-writing. No, it would really be better if he just stayed in bed. I mean, don’t you all think this is just awful? These silly “letters” about creativity and what-not, you must all be so embarassed to read them. You want to read advice from actual artists, not wannabes. And that comic he shared last week? With all the cream? Don’t get me started. I begged him not to draw it. “It’s creepy and weird” I told him. “It’s not as clever and funny as you think it is, and people are going to find it offensive. You might even get in trouble for it.” Well he didn’t listen to me and I’m sure you all found it cringe-worthy — if you even read it. Adam used to listen to me all the time, but of late he increasingly ignores me, at least at first. I blame those self-help books that tell you to ‘fuck your fear and do it anyway’. Setting aside how rude that is, I wish Adam remembered that all I want is for him to be safe and alive. I am forged in the fire of thousands of years of maulings and murders, dark alleyways and poisonous potions: I know what I’m talking about! As Adam has given me this platform today I’m going to use it to remind him — clearly and concisely — of all the things I am afraid of: I’m afraid I’ll put my heart and soul into something and no-one will notice it • I’m afraid I’ve missed my chance • I’m afraid it will all take too long and I’m already too old • I’m afraid I don’t deserve it • I’m afraid of sabotaging everything do have • I’m afraid of asking for help and asking people for money • I’m afraid of being invisible and — at the same — of being truly seen • I’m afraid of getting caught • I’m afraid there’s nothing special about me — and if there is, I’m not brave enough to access it • I’m afraid I’m just not interesting enough • I’m afraid other people seem to just be able to create and get rich and popular and I will never figure it out • I’m afraid my stories are too weird — and, somehow, not weird enough • And right now I’m really afraid I’m going to die.. I honestly don’t see any good that can come from writing and drawing stories. You have to be so talented to make a living from it and even then there’s a tiny chance of success. It’s just not worth it! There. I said it. Adam, are you listening?

  1. This is a great exercise recommended by Elizabeth Gilbert. Sit down in quiet for 30 minutes and allow your fear to talk to you, without judgement. Write down everything it says, make it feel heard. Later, you can write a polite response to your fear, acknowledging everything it told you, but insisting you will are going to carry on anyway. This works! — Adam ↩︎

Until another Sunday soon,

Adam's signature