In a world full of books, a reader can feel incredibly guilty about a lot of things:
- Guilt for reading books that are more “brain-candy” than “brain-food”.
- Guilt for falling in love with a character that you would, in normal circumstances, abhor ten-folds.
- Guilt for completely missing the deeper message about the book because you were more focused on the smoldering eyes of a man who looked fantastic in an Armani suit.
- Guilt for comparing your sex life with those of the characters’ on any given Erotica book (Oh don’t judge. I’m sure we’ve all been there, too).
- Guilt for not being sympathetic to a character’s plight because of your inability to empathize with their situation (just what kind of monster are you?!).
- Guilt for not fully appreciating an author’s world-building skills because you simply don’t get the Fantasy genre or the sterile environment of a Sci-Fi space odyssey.
- Guilt for feeling jealous because someone had written the story you wished you had written.
- Guilt for whenever you share the popular opinion over a book is another step towards obsolescence (to quote Murakami, “If you only read the book that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking.”).
- Guilt for writing a bad review on a book that was sent to you by the author/publisher/publicist (this one is a doozy).
- Guilt for not reading fast enough (fuck the TBR shelf!).
And these are just some of the many guilt that burdens us, readers. Let’s not even talk about the guilt we all feel as bloggers. Lordy. That will probably require a two-part post. I’m a Catholic. The very foundation of our religion is based on guilt. We’re taught that if we don’t follow the Holy Rules, we’re doomed to eternal hell. We’re taught that if we don’t love our brethren as God love us all, we’ll never see the Gates of Heaven. So you see? I know a thing or two about guilt.
But how do you deal with all these feelings?
Not a damn thing.
Unless you want to hate blogging and the very reason why you started blogging altogether (BOOKS, man. Books), you’re gonna want to check that guilt by the door. Because life is too damn short to care about what others will think about you. Honesty and credibility are important traits to have before you go on and decide to be a keyboard warrior. We are our own persons. Who cares if you like popular fiction? Who cares if pirates and ladies with heaving bosoms are the kind of kink you adore? Trust me when I say, guilt is what will suck the life out of the very thing you love. So go on, child.
Don’t sell yourself out.
Don’t sell yourself short.
Be the best version of yourself without lying through your teeth.
Because the most important thing is that you don’t change the way you are just to please everybody else.