Not too long ago, I was having what I thought was an equitable conversation with someone. She asked me what I did, and I told her. Without a blink she replied, “Oh. I don’t read fiction. I guess I’m too well educated.”
At first I didn’t take offense. A day or two later, I started to resent the comment. A day after that, I let it go, chalking it up to common ignorance. But, it ignited in me a sort of awareness of this prejudice I’d never really noticed before — the odd notion one can be too educated for something. The more attention I paid, the more aware I became of the alarming frequency this subject comes up among writers; one genre views itself superior to another, the highbrow views the ‘dregs’ with disdain… I just don’t get it. Even as I sat watching Lost last night, this issue arose. One of the Others was having a book group and her friends were giving her a hard time for picking a Stephen King novel. One said something about not even deigning to read it in the bathroom, as if Mr. King’s words were somehow beneath him.
It all seems vain and trifling. Like writers don’t have enough obstacles in their paths, new ones need to be invented; clubs have to be formed and the mean little kids manning their plywood forts have to wing stone missiles at the approach of any of the uninitiated and unwelcome.
I have no use for any of that. I’m a storyteller out to do just what the title implies. And if I can help just one person let go of whatever is troubling him for a little while, I’ll be more than satisfied with my life’s work, regardless of the opinions of others.
Maybe I am uneducated. Maybe I’ll never be part of the intelligentsia. But, I know who I am, and where I’m going. And I believe in myself enough to let those who have “too much education” slide by me without affecting my outlook on life. I’ve got too many better things to do than worry about other people’s hang-ups.