On genius

I got a bit depressed last night while watching a documentary about a long-dead poet. Armando Iannucci was talking about John Milton, about Paradise Lost. And it struck me that here was a man describing a genius. Which depressed me.

I thought about it quite hard last night. Is it okay to not be a genius? I mean, here am I wanting to write, always feeling that it is something I should do, and I am pretty sure I’m no genius. I’m just someone who wants to write stupid stories about things I like. I don’t have any purpose when I write, no deeper meaning. Is it okay to be okay? I’m not a genius, I’m an administrator in a medical indemnity company. right now I’m writing a masterpiece – a report on new dental claims in the first four months of 2009.

I’m just me.

We can’t all, obviously, be Milton, or Orwell, or Austen or any of the other genius writers out there. Someone has to write the books which fill the shelves in Waterstones to no great purpose. But what kind of ambition is that? To fill shelves, all I’d need to do is work in a supermarket.

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