Self-conscious arguments, apologetic language, and self-censorship are in vogue recently. It’s as if there’s an invisible panel of judges standing over your shoulder as you write, and not even the privacy of your journal can protect you from them.

You could say social media did this to us, but I don’t think it’s true. The individual desire to fit in, and the collective drive to make everything easy to understand and “normal” have been with us for millennia.

The voice in your head that tells you to fit in with the rest of the crowd is the voice of your uncle, or mother, or other well-meaning members of your tribe that stopped reading books in their twenties.

This is so strange. I don’t know what to think, dear, I’ve never seen it done this way before. Aren’t you afraid that people won’t like it? What you wrote is very unusual. What if they misunderstand? Couldn’t you write about normal things?

Never, ever, apologize for your art.

Never make it less than it could be. Never compromise to the benefit of imaginary readers. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, and if your art makes some people angry, let them be angry.

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