Have you heard of imposter syndrome? The fear that you've somehow achieved everything in your life by accident, and sooner or later everyone will realize you're an imposter who knows nothing?
I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
Somewhere along the line, I acquired a bad case of it, and I've never quite been able to shake it, despite all evidence to the contrary.
It's all about the stories (and lies) we tell ourselves, how we frame events, the themes and patterns we draw out (because we're always looking for patterns and narratives, that's what we do, we humans).
Band of Turquoise
a free short story by Kit Campbell
Alice pulled her sweater closer as she moved into the graveyard. Stray, dead leaves swirled at her feet, and a band of turquoise lay heavily on her wrist. She resisted the urge to play with it, in case that broke the limited protection it gave her. She did not know how much time she had before Amy would realize she had gone, before the turquoise would no longer hide Alice’s whereabouts.
Fear caused her to move faster than she would otherwise. Her goal was the center of the graveyard, a statue of Death standing over his prey. Rumor said the statue had been there since the very beginning of the cemetery, if not before.
In the twilight, the graveyard was empty of other people--living ones, at least. Gravestones rose out of the darkness only to be wrapped back in once Alice had passed. The statue was unmistakable when she found it. She only hoped the rumors were true. She would not get a chance to try again.
The library in my elementary school was half the size of a classroom, but as full of books as they could make it. Still I’d read nearly every book in it before I escaped to middle school and more books.
In middle school and high school, I read a book a day most days. I read through the middle school library in just over a year, and the kind librarians let me into the high school section early so I wouldn’t starve for books. On a rare trip to the county library I looked like a contestant in one of those “all you can stuff in the cart in ten minutes” contest winners. When I got home I always needed help with my stack of treasure—especially since I was generally eyebrows deep in the first book while I tried to carry the rest.
In those years, pretty much if I wasn’t reading, I was writing. I had an old electric typewriter on a table in my room, and a bunch of notebooks for when I needed to hide somewhere else (and a 35-acre farm full of places to do the hiding!) and I loved to write the stories that I couldn’t find to read. (Stories I can now identify as self-insert Hardy Boys fanfic? Yeaaahhhh…there might be a reason that stuff wasn’t in the library.)