Words and pictures of Amelie Wikstrom 2019

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Got this done in under six hours. I have that ability. It's just my will that's. . .inconsistent. Motivation. Confidence. I expect I have this flavor of clinical perfectionism that's caused by growing up without enough feedback on your work.

I used to sell crayon drawings to the neighbors for about a quarter dollar or less when I was eight or nine, and I sold every one I made, even when I dropped all effort at creativity and just pumped out 10-20 of the same stick figure portrait and I knew the grown-ups were just being nice and didn't care what I made. And then I stopped because I didn't want money that bad. But I always kept making stuff: Lego, poetry, stone carving, stories about imaginary friends I told the Internet as though they were true, whatever. I just wanted to make things that weren't in the world.

But it turns out what I "needed" was feedback. I could never get enough. Occasionally people have been nice enough to write detailed critiques of my stories, and every time I have to struggle with the urge to wring them out like rags for more detail. And when you're eleven and you spend two days putting together a lego spaceship the likes of which the world has never seen and your parents have no comment beyond "that's nice", you learn to be afraid of what's left unspoken, afraid that everything you're doing may be wrong in some ways you don't understand and no one cares to tell you. So it's safer to do nothing.

A bit of a paranoid temperament may also be an essential ingredient in this neurosis.

So anyway! Why isn't Mara talking about the big wriggly monster she saw? Because she couldn't turn her head very well while balancing that box and she only saw what she saw in the corner of her eye. Would you believe something like that was real? Even in Hearthstown.