William Faulkner stated that an author needs three things to succeed - imagination, wisdom and observation, with any two of those able to substitute for the other. The issue of substitution is reassuring for me - I've always known that imagination and observation can lead to wisdom but for Faulkner to have mentioned it provides me with a strength that allows me to diminish the stress set in by not feeling 'old enough'.
But as I've mentioned in the past I don't conform to the stereotype of the author wherein we're considered to be lurking in the shadows, trying to listen in on people. I think that's what people have in mind. But that's not what observation is. It's not found by going out and looking for something weird that people are doing. It's a very sad image to me, an aspiring author furiously scribbling notes in their small notebook as some bizarre event is unfolding in front of them on the street. I don't believe that observation is genuine if you go out looking for it; it's genuine when you come across something by chance, and it remains in your memory. I believe that's one of the keys for an author to have - a strong memory.
But a strong memory isn't always fortunate, especially when I've been exposed to something disturbing. Then it's a struggle not to think and to move on from what I've seen. For too long I've had to deal with rejection, relying on my own self to combat whatever ugliness comes around. It brings to mind the struggle between 'thinking' and 'feeling', basic as that sounds. Don't think, just feel. Don't concern yourself with the ramifications.